USA 3x3 Champs Will Play Exhibition In Japan As Part Of Olympics Pitch

  • Date:
    Aug 5, 2015

The popularity of -- and participation in -- 3x3 basketball continues to grow around the world. With international competitions drawing more and more interest, the support to make 3x3 basketball an Olympic sport is growing as well. 

As part of that initiative, a 3x3 team from the United States has traveled to Japan to help the cause.

Team Denver, which won the 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament on July 26 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was invited to Japan by the Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) to represent the United States in an exhibition game against the 3x3 Japanese National Team on Aug. 6. The exhibition was planned to showcase 3x3 basketball in front of the Tokyo 2020 representatives, who are involved in the selection process of new sports to be added to the Olympic Games.

• GALLERY: Winners From 3x3 National Tournament

“It is an honor to go to Japan again to help sell this amazing sport to the Olympic Committee, because 2020 it will be there,” said Derek Griffin (Denver, Colo.) of Team Denver. “If we can help that in any way, shape or form, we are honored to do that. We are looking forward to it.”

Team Denver will also have the chance to attend the Japan National Training Center with the Japanese team and have a practice session with the team.

“We get to meet new people,” said Corey Campbell (San Diego, Calif.), another member of Team Denver. “It is about the travelling and the people we get to meet.”

Team Denver could possibly have a lot more travelling on the docket. By virtue of winning the USA Basketball national tournament, Denver earned a place at the Mexico Masters 3x3 event on Sept. 9-10 in Mexico City. Two teams from that event will qualify for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 15-16.

Of course, they also earned a berth into next summer’s 2016 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament, which will qualify one men’s and one women’s team for the 2016 FIBA World Championship in Guangzhou, China.

“This is the time of year that we hope to be busy,” said Griffin.

And if Team Denver helps impress the Tokyo 2020 representatives at their exhibition game, they may have a return trip in five years.

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Ariel drained a two-pointer to defeat Harlem 22-19 and claim top honors in the 2017 USA Basketball Men's 3x3 National Tournament. Here's a few of the highlights from the gold medal contest.

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