3-On-3 basketball will save the 2020 Olympics

Dan O'Shea

Every Summer Olympics, we get to sit around and watch the United States Men’s National Team blow every single team out of the water. It’s like watching the Warriors this year, except the entire country is behind them. It’s always fun bringing home the gold, but it gets boring after a while not even watching real basketball. The only way to make basketball watchable at the Olympics? Not real basketball. Bring on the 3-on-3. 

We’re all big medal counters when it comes to the Olympics. We go full out “Merica” mode, breakout every piece of red white and blue clothing we have and bury every single country with every single stereotype we can come up with. It’s a national pastime. So when it comes to the Men’s Basketball portion of the Olympics, we love the guarantee of bringing home the gold. We just can’t watch it.

It’s like watching the Harlem Globetrotters beat down the Washington Generals. Yea it’s fun to watch if you’re nine years old or if you’ve never seen basketball before, but it gets old. Think about the last Olympics. The team wasn’t even focused. Draymond Green was sending dick pics while his team was supposed to be concerned about winning a Gold medal. A story about him sending nudes on snapchat was more compelling than the actual tournament itself. That has to tell you something.

That’s one reason why the introduction of 3-on-3 basketball will be the best thing to happen to the basketball side of the Olympics.

 

Many of us grew up playing basketball, but this is a much closer version to anything we’ve ever experienced. It’s the first time hoop heads can actually compare to an Olympic athlete. You’ve probably never come even remotely close to playing an NBA-style game, but you can guarantee you’ve played by these same rules and regulations that are set to take place during the sport’s inaugural run at the 2020 Olympics.

  • The half-court game features a 12-second shot clock.
  • A team consists of a four man roster, three starters and a sub. No coaches.
  • The game is first to 21, or one single 10-minute period.
  • Every made shot inside the three-point arc is one point. Beyond the arc is two.
  • After a change of possession on a missed shot or turnover, the ball must be taken back beyond the three-point arc. The same rule applies after a made basket.

It sounds extremely cliche to say “this is a completely different game” when you’re still playing basketball, but it is. Playing 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 is so different it isn’t even close. There’s no fast breaks, the long ball is even more important, and there are no plays. Just think of it like you’re at the park. If you’re standing there trying to draw up plays during a game of pick up, that one extremely old ringer you think should have no business being alive let alone dogging people on the court will rip you to shreds in front of God and everyone else who’s got next game. It’s a faster paced, gritty brand of basketball that is going to be a million times better to watch.

“(Three-on-three basketball) is a different skill set. It’s really a 10-minute sprint, no coach, so you need to take the right decisions.”

FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann. 

 

These days, people have the attention span of a goldfish, and that’s insulting the goldfish. You probably took a break from reading this to check your phone. This game is perfect for those people. It’s quick, with a ton of action, and is over in 10 minutes. Perfect for those who find a full 48 minute game a chore to watch.

The next fun step is choosing who you’d pick to represent the United States during 3-on-3. You’d expect us to walk away with a win, but let’s not forget this isn’t replacing 5 on 5. As much as you can sit home and tweet about how LeBron can join Durant and Curry and morph the two superteams into one, that isn’t happening, right?

Imagine if some stars actually choose 3-on-3 instead of 5-on-5. Like “forget this, I’ve already had the gold in regular basketball, let’s go grab this one to add to my collection.” Even if they don’t, the NBA is still the greatest pool of talent in the world. You can make an absurd team out of the players who just don’t even make the roster.

Or, do you pick players who aren’t in the NBA? Ready for some news you definitely didn’t know before? There’s already a 3-on-3 team representing your country, right now.

 

That’s right, those three dudes who always roll up to the court and make you not even want to play anymore could be a legit Olympian. At least when you get mopped up in pickup basketball so bad you’re ashamed to tell your mom how your day was you can try to spin it and say they could qualify to represent the country in 2020.

There are still so many ways to go in between pros and joes. You could pick high school All Americans. Imagine sending the McDonald’s All American roster out there and hyping them up even higher than their demi-god status before they even touch a college court. Speaking of college, why not send some All Americans from there who aren’t projected to make it far on the next level. Let’s also not forget thanks to Ice Cube, there’s a 3-on-3 league happening this summer featuring former NBA players.

 

If you’re telling me your brain didn’t go a million miles an hour thinking about Allen Iverson playing in the Olympics, then you’re no friend of mine.

No matter who trots out for whichever country come 2020, they have to do this right and make it an authentic basketball court fit for a game of 3-on-3. There’s no beautiful courts like they were sculpted in heaven to play on. No way. I’m talking about that poorly paved cement court, with chain link nets, double rims and a backboard older than your grandfather. If you want to make this sport legit, give the pros a court like the average joes play on to make it real.

It’s time to give us the basketball game we can actually enjoy watching over Equestrian, rowing, fencing, and any other weird sport the Olympics throw at us.

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