It’s fast and furious and New Zealand’s embracing the action packed new Olympic sport.

Basketball New Zealand 3x3 Head Coach Anthony Corban expects a strong Kiwi side to line up against the likes of powerhouses USA and Serbia, when the exciting short-format event makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

“We’re very fortunate that Basketball New Zealand have invested in this over the past seven years. In that period of time New Zealand’s won two men’s under 18 world championships. We’ve only missed making the top eight once at the World Championships in that division.”

Corban says although New Zealand isn’t traditionally a basketball nation we excel in 3x3.

“It’s a popular sport in America but we have Kiwi ingenuity. Our accomplishments at the under 18 level have really proven the fact that we’re as competitive as any world power in 3-on-3 basketball.”

He’s encouraged as well by the number of female players involved in the sport, with the Kiwi women’s under 18 team last year placing 5th at the World Championships.

“We do have a proud history in 3-on-3 and its really moving forward now as an Olympic sport. I can see a lot of athletes making 3-on-3 their choice in coming years.”

The sport is fast paced with each match lasting a maximum of 10 minutes, with a 12-second shot clock. It’s played on half a court, with one hoop. There’s no halftime, and no quarters or time-outs. Games are typically accompanied by non-stop music, DJs and break-dancers.

“It has a massive following in Asia particularly in the Philippines and in recent years it’s taken off in Japan.”

Corban expects the Olympic debut of the sport to be intense, with a host of competitive nations likely to put more emphasis on the sport ahead of Tokyo 2020.

“It gives the countries that are not legitimate 5-on-5 world powers an opportunity to compete on the world stage and also for those smaller nations an opportunity to attend an Olympic Games which I think is massive.”

3-on-3 basketball will join exciting events like BMX freestyle, surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding all new to a more urban, modern and gender balanced Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020. The additions are part of the IOC’s “Olympic 2020” commitment to gender balance, youth and sustainability.

3-on-3 basketball was contested at the Singapore 2010 and Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and will be also feature on the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics. The Youth Olympic Games serve as an ‘incubator’ to trial new sports and formats before they are considered for advancement to the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games.

New Zealand will contest the 3x3 FIBA World Champs held in Nantes France between 17-21 June 2017.

Tokyo 2020 Buenos Aires 2018 Nanjing 2014 Singapore 2010 Olympic Summer Games Olympic Summer Youth Games Basketball
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