Every summer, as the NBA Finals conclude and we are without professional basketball until October, avid basketball fans let our imaginations run wild. There’s the neverending “Is LeBron better than Michael Jordan?” conversation. We debate “Could the 1996 Chicago Bulls beat the current Golden State Warriors?” And we imagine some of our favorite NBA players going one-on-one against each other on a blacktop under the summer sun.
Well, the latest announcement by the International Olympic Committee brings us one step closer to having our basketball fantasies become reality. The IOC made it official this morning: The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will feature the first-ever three-on-three basketball tournament. The field will be made up of 64 athletes—32 males and 32 females—from around the world.
The games will be only 10 minutes long, featuring zero timeouts and no halftime (which is sort of great). The games will be played on one half of the court, in fitting homage to how most 3×3 games are actually played in neighborhoods around the country.
FIBA has been putting on 3×3 tournaments since 2007. Its most popular one, the FIBA 3×3 World Cup, will have fourth installment tip off later this month in France. It’s still not known where the players for Team USA will come from, whether they will be college kids, pros or a mix; but whatever the case, 3-on-3 hoops and the Olympics is a marriage that was always meant to be. Can you imagine Team USA trotting out a threesome of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry? 2020 can’t come soon enough.