3x3 (pronounced 3 on 3,3 by 3 or 3x3), known also as streetball or streetbasketball is a form of the game played three a side on one hoop. It is the largest urban team sport of the world (ESSEC study commissioned by IOC). This basketball discipline is currently being promoted and structured by FIBA the sport's governing body. Its flagship competition is an annual FIBA 3X3 World Tour comprised by a series of Masters and one Final awarding six-figure prize money in US dollars.
3x3 has been a basketball format always played, albeit in a less formal way. The first large 3x3 competition was launched in 1989 by USA-based Hoop It Up, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014. They state to have reached over 500,000 athletes in this period. Adidas launched its now-discontinued streetball competition in 1992. Since then, the number of 3x3 events and competitions has been steadily growing all around the world.
FIBA took the decision to first test 3x3 at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau. Further test events were held in April 2008 in the Dominican Republic and October 2008 in Indonesia. The international debut was at the 2009 Asian Youth Games: 19 teams in the boys' tournament and 16 teams in the girls' tournament. All games were held at Anglican High School, Singapore. Finally, 3x3 made its worldwide competitive debut at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore. The competition featured 20 teams in both boy's and girl's categories. The competition was held at the Youth Space, Singapore. Since then World Championships in both open and U18 categories are held on a regular basis.
After the success in Singapore,FIBA launched a full programme to make 3x3 a stand-alone discipline with its own regular competitions with the long-term goal to create a professional competition and have 3x3 included in the Summer Olympic Games Programme.
Rules of the game
FIBA releases from time-to-time a 3x3 supplement to its official basketball rules. The rules state that regular FIBA rules apply to all situations not specifically addressed in the FIBA 3x3 rules. The current set, both in an abbreviated version and longer format, has been published in early 2014 and a video has been posted on YouTube.
Under the 2014 rules, the departures from regular full-court basketball are as follows:
- Each team consists of three players and one substitute.
- The game is played on a half-court, with one basket.
- A size 6 basketball (circumference of 727–734 mm/28.5–29.0 in) is used for all divisions, including men's competitions. This is the standard size for women's basketball, and smaller than the size 7 standard (749–780 mm/29.5–30.7 in) used in the full-court men's game.
- A jump ball is not used to start the game. Instead, a coin toss is held immediately before the game. The winning team can choose to take possession of the ball at the start of the game, or take the first possession of a potential overtime period.
- There are no jump balls at any time in the game; neither is there an alternating possession rule. In any held ball situation, the defensive team is granted possession.
- Every successful shot inside the arc is awarded one point, while every successful shot behind the arc is awarded two points.
- The game is a single period of 10 minutes with sudden death at 21 points. The winner is the first team to score 21 or the team with the highest score at the end of the 10 minutes. A tie in regulation leads to an untimed overtime period, which is won by the first team to score two points in overtime. Note that if a game is tied at 20 at the end of regulation, reaching 21 does not end the games.
- Game play starts with the defensive team exchanging the ball with the offensive team behind the arc. This exchange is also used to restart the game from any dead ball situation. If a foul is committed that results in the non-fouling team retaining possession — i.e., a technical or "unsportsmanlike" foul (the latter essentially the same as the "flagrant foul" of North American rule sets) — the non-fouling team will receive the exchange.
- A 12-second shot clock is used.
- If the defense gains possession of the ball within the arc, by a steal, a block or a rebound, the team must move the ball behind the arc before being allowed to take a shot.
- After a made goal or free throw (except for technical or unsportsmanlike fouls and team fouls 10 or more), play restarts with a player from the non-scoring team taking the ball directly under the basket and then dribbling or passing it to a point behind the arc. The defense is not allowed to play for the ball inside the block/charge semi-circle under the basket.
- The only common feature between the substitution procedure in full-court and 3x3 is that it can occur only in a dead ball situation. In 3x3, a substitute can only enter from behind the end line opposite the basket, and the substitution becomes official once the player leaving the game has made physical contact with the substitute. Unlike the full-court game, no action from referees or table officials is required.
- Each team is allowed one timeout. (The officials may still stop the game in case of player injury or other dangerous situations, as in the standard FIBA rules.)
- Individual personal foul counts are not kept. In other words, players cannot be disqualified on the basis of personal fouls. However, a player who commits two unsportsmanlike fouls is disqualified.
- Fouls during the act of shooting inside the arc are awarded 1 free throw, whilst fouls during the act of shooting behind the arc are awarded 2 free throws. However, team fouls 7, 8 and 9 are awarded two free throws, whilst team fouls 10 or more are awarded two free throws and possession of the ball.
- Technical fouls (including unsportsmanlike fouls) result in two free throws plus possession of the ball, as in the standard full-court game.
FIBA sees 3x3 as a major vehicle for promotion of the game of basketball throughout the world. FIBA Secretary General and IOC member, Patrick Baumann considers: "The 3x3 concept has all the elements and skills required for basketball, it has inspired and will continue to inspire many great players in the future. At the same time, it is the easiest and one of the most effective ways to bring youngsters to basketball, keep them and promote our game. Finally FIBA 3x3 can and will promote key educational and social values to the next generations". Baumann is also hoping that 3x3 will be included in the Summer Olympics at the first opportunity.
FIBA is pursuing a unique click and brick strategy to implement 3x3. FIBA has developed a digital community 3x3planet.com that acts as repository all FIBA-endorsed 3x3 events worldwide and offers all players an individual world ranking based on the points earned by players at FIBA-endorsed 3x3 events.
Any event in the world can become FIBA-endorsed by using FIBA's freeware, EventMaker, to organise the event. All FIBA-endorsed 3x3 events are classified within an established competition hierarchy, thus forming an official competition network. The pinnacle of this competition network is the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, that is a series of World Tour Masters and one Final. A team can qualify to a World Tour Masters by playing in any of the designated World Tour qualifiers.
After the success of the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, FIBA established a regular World Championships, always men and women simultaneously, in both open and U18 categories. The open category is played every two years (in even years) since 2012, whilst U18 are played every year since 2011, except in Youth Olympic Games years.
Classification to the World Championships is based on the 3x3 Federation Ranking, that ranks all National Federations based on the 3x3 Individual World Ranking points of their top 100 nationals (with a confirmed 3x3planet.com account) in the respective category (men, women, U18 men, U18 women).
In addition to team competitions, World Championships feature also individual competitions such as dunking and shooting.
The results in the various editions have been:
|Year||Host||Winners (Men)||Winners (Women)|
|Year||Host||Winners (Men)||Winners (Women)|
- Gus Macker, 3x3 tournaments held in the United States since 1974
- Limited overs cricket, cricket matches of limited duration, though with full-sized teams
- Mario Hoops 3-on-3, a video game variant for the Nintendo DS featuring characters from the Mario and Final Fantasy franchises
- Rugby sevens, a rugby union variant with both fewer players and a shorter duration of play