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Top 12 3x3 Notes for 2021

  • Date:
    Mar 3, 2021

It’s March 3, and USA Basketball and Red Bull 3X are celebrating #3x3Day. In honor of 3x3’s 12-second shot clock, check out the top 12 notes for 3x3 basketball in 2021, including its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

1. On March 3 (also known as 3/3), USA Basketball and Red Bull 3X celebrate #3x3Day.

New in 2021 is an Instagram filter featuring a 12-second shot clock, which is used in FIBA 3x3 competition. Play the :12 Challenge and show us your skills before the clock hits zero! Check it out inside the @redbullusa Instagram page.

From the inaugural #3x3Day in 2020 and still available on @redbull Instagram are filters featuring a Red Bull 3X headband and basketball.

2. From May 26-30, the USA men’s and women’s 3x3 national teams will have their final chance to qualify for the Olympic 3x3 competition at the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Austria. The top three men’s and top three women’s teams at that tournament will earn a ticket to Tokyo.

Both USA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Teams will conduct training camps between now and May 26, so stay tuned to @usab3x3 for the latest.

3. Undoubtedly, the biggest 3x3 news in 2021 is that 3x3 basketball will debut as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The 3x3 tournaments will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams and are scheduled for July 24-28, 2021. (The five-on-five tournament for men is July 25-Aug. 7 and for women July 26-Aug. 8.)

4. Back in November 2019, four men’s and four women’s teams were announced as having qualified for the Tokyo Olympic 3x3 competition based on point totals from results in FIBA 3x3 competitions. Already into the Olympics on the men’s side are: host Japan, China, Russia and Serbia. And for the women: China, Mongolia, Romania and Russia.

5. The eighth-and-final Olympic 3x3 berths will go to the men’s and women’s winner at the FIBA 3x3 Universality Qualifying Tournament from June 4-6 in Debrecen, Hungary. That tournament will include six men’s and six women’s national teams from countries that did not have a basketball team at the 2012 or 2016 Olympic Games.

6. 2021 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals – The dates and location for the annual USA Basketball men’s and women’s 3x3 national tournaments are still to be announced. Subject to health and safety precautions, plans are being developed for USA Basketball to conduct the 2021 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals.

Since 2012, USA Basketball has held men’s and women’s 3x3 national tournaments, and from 2012 through 2018 it was held at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado. In 2019, it became the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals and was played in Las Vegas. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals were cancelled.

The 3x3 championships help USA Basketball select team members for international competitions, including the FIBA 3x3 World Cup, FIBA U23 World Cup and World Beach Games.

7. Red Bull has partnered with USA Basketball to grow 3x3 basketball. If it is safe to do so in 2021, Red Bull will look to host 3X Local Qualifier tournaments as part of the Red Bull 3X Series. Winning teams would qualify for the 2021 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Regionals, which would then feed into the 2022 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals.

In 2019, Red Bull conducted 22 3X Local Qualifier tournaments, USA Basketball hosted four 3X Regionals and 74 3x3 teams took part along the way.

8. In case you haven’t heard, here are the rules of FIBA 3x3 basketball: The game is played on a half court with a 12-second shot-clock. The winner is the first team to 21 points, or the leading team at the end of the 10-minute game clock. If the score is tied after 10 minutes, the game goes to overtime, and the first team to score two points wins. Baskets inside the arc and free throws are worth one point, and baskets from outside the arc are worth two points. A team is in a penalty situation on its seventh foul, but individuals cannot foul out. Each team consists of four players and is allowed one, 30-second timeout. Coaches are not allowed on the court and not allowed to coach from the stands, but many countries, including the USA, have coaches for practices.

9. If you haven’t watched 3x3 basketball (FIBA3x3 on YouTube), it is fast and fun. Along with the 12-second shot clock, players only have to clear the ball behind the arc to start an offensive possession and the clock only stops during timeouts, if the ball is knocked out of bounds, a foul is being called or players are shooting free throws.  

10. On the men’s side, FIBA 3x3 World Tour stops have been on the calendar since 2012. U.S. 3x3 teams such as Princeton and Harlem are repeat participants at those events. Throughout each year, a 3x3 player might travel thousands of miles to play in tournaments that usually last three or four days and sometimes include prize money.

The next FIBA 3x3 World Tour stop is set for Doha, Qatar, March 26-27, with more 2021 events to be announced.

11. The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series is entering its second season after its debut in 2019 and forced cancellation in 2020. The series featured 15 events in 2019, and the USA team played in seven events with a combination of six athletes (Bella Alarie, Charli Collier, Aleah Goodman, Sabrina Ionescu, Michaela Onyenwere and Christyn Williams).

FIBA has announced its intention to conduct the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series in 2021, however dates and locations are still to be announced.

In 2019, Force 10 Hoops became the first professional women’s 3x3 team in the United States, and its inaugural season featured Cierra Burdick, Alexis Peterson, Linnae Harper and Megan Huff.

12. Much like five-on-five FIBA competitions, the FIBA 3x3 calendar features events for both an open division and young 3x3 athletes.

Expected to be played in 2021 in the open category is the FIBA 3x3 World Cup. And for age-based competitions: the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup, U23 Nation’s League, Junior Pan American Games and FIBA 3x3 U17 AmeriCup.

Since, 2012, FIBA has held 3x3 World Cups and U18 World Cups. The tournaments typically feature 20 men’s and 20 women’s national teams. The first FIBA 3x3 tournament was the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which are held every four years (2018, 2022, etc.) and athletes are 18 years old or younger.

For zone-based competitions, USA Basketball competes in the FIBA Americas zone, which includes national teams from countries in North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

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Action from Orlando as the USA men prepare for the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in May.

Jewell Loyd looks back at her gold medal performance at the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Cup.

Arike Ogunbowale remembers her experience at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games 3x3 tournament.

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