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Basketball 2.0 takes a riveting and inspirational look inside the rise of 3x3 basketball, which made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, just a decade after launching as the official truncated version of arguably the world's second most popular sport. For generations, three-on-three was a popular form of pickup basketball but seen as a novelty until the governing body, FIBA, hatched an ambitious plan to broaden the sport's worldwide footprint and extend its fan base through a distinctive brand. But to achieve legitimacy, 3x3 needed to accomplish the improbable and go from the streets to the Olympics. Despite scepticism, FIBA created a professional tour and international competitions before its dream was realised when 3x3 became an Olympic sport for the Tokyo Games. FIBA is betting big on its new game, but even after 3x3's memorable Olympic debut, the question remains: will it truly succeed? Basketball 2.0 is the first in-depth exploration of this fascinating and quirky new global game.



Publié par
Date de parution 22 août 2022
Nombre de lectures 14
EAN13 9781801502863
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


First published by Pitch Publishing, 2022
Pitch Publishing
A2 Yeoman Gate
Yeoman Way
BN13 3QZ
Tristan Lavalette,2022
Every effort has been made to trace the copyright.
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A CIP catalogue record is available for this book from the British Library
Print ISBN 9781801501262
eBook ISBN 9781801502863
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Prologue: 28 July 2021: Latvia vs Russian Olympic Committee; men s Olympic gold medal game
1. FIBA shows interest in three on three
2. Three on three s origins
3. FIBA tests three on three
4. 3x3 is born
5. FIBA s 3x3 professional circuit launches
6. FIBA chases its 3x3 Olympic dream
7. Establishing 3x3 s urban culture brand and a fanbase
8. The Voice of 3x3 - Kyle Montgomery
9. Can 3x3 flourish in the United States?
10. Denver and Princeton - the pioneers of American 3x3
11. Big3 vs FIBA 3x3
12. Du an Bulut - 3x3 s GOAT
13. Romania - the Mecca of 3x3
14. 3x3 - Mongolia s most popular sport
15. How Latvia became 3x3 s first men s gold medallists
16. The future of 3x3
28 July 2021: Latvia vs Russian Olympic Committee; men s Olympic gold medal game
WITH THE men s Olympic gold medal game in the balance, in a see saw of a contest typical of 3x3 s unpredictability, Latvia talisman K rlis Lasmanis wiped away sweat on his brow amid a muggy Wednesday night as the clock hit 10.45pm.
But, more importantly, the game clock showed just 32.5 seconds left amid a stoppage, with officials determining which team touched the ball before it went out of bounds.
Even though it is a purposely souped up version of basketball, like it had consumed ten Red Bulls, 3x3 still could do little about officials watching endless replays to determine disputed late game calls.
As the delay ensued, Lasmanis paused, took a gulp and looked to the heavens. He immediately blinked, feeling almost temporarily blinded by the full force of the bright lights hovering ominously above the half court at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in the temporary venue for 3x3 basketball in the waterfront Aomi district of Tokyo.
Lasmanis, of course, had other more pressing things weighing on his mind, but the symbolism was nonetheless striking with the spotlight on 3x3 - the popular three on three pickup game of basketball formalised and opportunistically transformed into an Olympic discipline within a decade by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the sport s governing body.
The often mocked truncated 21 point game, derided as a safe haven for misfits unworthy of basketball, neared the end of its five days in the international limelight - 14 years since the late FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann started his near obsession with perfecting a professional version of streetball, marketed as 3 ex 3 .
In its Olympic debut, as the second basketball discipline, 3x3 naturally enjoyed being a novelty and attracted major coverage from media heavyweights the New York Times , Washington Post and The Guardian , among others.
French president Emmanuel Macron and United States first lady Jill Biden were some of the notable dignitaries who watched the ten minute sprint played on a half court with a solitary basketball hoop marked by a scoring system consisting of one and two pointers. It s as if that classic 1980s Nintendo game Hoops sprung to reality.
The men s and women s respective eight team competitions had been typically freewheeling and breathless, designed to erode basketball s dreary aspects.
There was one major hitch, which was uncontrollable, but left FIBA 3x3 officials feeling rather hollow in the belief that the product was going to be slightly diminished in its Olympic unveiling.
The fan less Tokyo Games, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, undoubtedly stripped 3x3 - branded as an urban sport aimed at youth - of its electric and unparalleled atmosphere, where the spectacle is akin to if a half court and hoop was transplanted to the middle of a heaving nightclub. With a dedicated hype man and MC, who plays a rotating track of classic hip hop tunes mixed with latest pop hits, there s little subtlety in FIBA 3x3 s mimicking of American cultural trappings but everyone seems to play along and enjoy themselves. It is part sports event, part festival. But 100 per cent entertainment.
With 32.5 seconds left in the men s gold medal game between Latvia and Russian Olympic Committee, amid a stoppage with hot favourites Latvia leading 19 18, Knowa Lazarus, the indefatigable hype man, stared into the stands, mostly empty apart from a smattering of officials and family members of the players.
It was a far cry from the venue s capacity of 7,100 fans, who were envisioned to be typically rowdy and whipped into a frenzy by Lazarus to light a fuse under 3x3 and help it emerge from obscurity.
While Lazarus ploughed ahead and tested his vocal cords to the limit, Lasmanis - the blond haired poster boy dubbed Batman by FIBA 3x3 s marketers - decided it was time to play the kind of hero ball discouraged during his inglorious fleeting basketball career mired in lower professional leagues in Latvia and Germany.
He calmly relayed his intentions to sidekick Nauris Miezis - unsurprisingly coined Robin and who had missed a two pointer just seconds earlier that would have won the gold medal - as Latvia s players quickly agreed to unleash a well worn set play to allow Lasmanis to get to his sweet spot on the left side behind the arc.
With ironman Edgars Kr mi , a hefty frame suggesting he could double up at Olympic wrestling, reduced to the sidelines after a serious ankle injury, Latvia played the final minutes without a substitute player. Lasmanis, Miezis and Agnis avars, another brute who relishes body slamming opponents belying his day job as an IT programmer, were tiring and knew they needed to seal the deal on this play.
Kr mi , the heart and soul of the team, manically implored his flagging team mates to seize the moment against an upstart Russian team comprised of players 25 and under, who had shocked number one seed Serbia in a semi final thrashing to humiliate 3x3 GOAT Du an Bulut. Capturing the imagination of their compatriots back home, the gold medal game was the most watched event of the entire Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Russia, according to FIBA.
In a set play they had fine tuned over four long years grinding on the FIBA 3x3 professional circuit, where these Latvian players represent powerhouse Riga, Miezis had possession on the Olympic logo and waited for Lasmanis, who in a decoy action lost his defender, aided by a perfectly executed screen by avars, his speciality, allowing him to get a clean look at the basket with 29 seconds left in the game.
He s the man with big balls, Miezis said, as the Latvians knew this was a moment Lasmanis, whose father U is represented Latvia in rowing at the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics, had dreamt of for a long time.
As he had done countless times on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, Lasmanis drained the gold medal winning two pointer from well beyond the arc to trigger wild celebrations capped by an ailed Kr mi - who would subsequently be sidelined for three months - launching himself on his team mates rolling around the court in a love fest.
After claiming Latvia s only gold medal in Tokyo, and just the tiny Baltic nation s fifth ever at the Summer Games, the players were treated as something like rock stars when they returned home to Riga with fans lining the streets for eight kilometres to celebrate the nation s newest heroes.
I m not LeBron but people recognise and approach me, said Lasmanis, who was set to join rapper actor turned entrepreneur Ice Cube s gaudy Big3 professional three on three league in the United States in 2022.
Latvia s unsung gold medallists, all four of them basketball outcasts who received unexpected lifelines, perfectly symbolised the underdog and slightly oddball appeal of 3x3. Honed from the tough playgrounds in the eastern European country, Lasmanis, Miezis, avars and Kr mi conquered the biggest stage in sports to live out Baumann s long held dreams of taking condensed basketball from the streets to the Olympics, which became 3x3 s official catchcry.
It s a sport that welcomes people and there are no divas, said legendary sports reporter Alexander Wolff, who chronicled 3x3 for Sports Illustrated with several memorable long form articles.
The players might not be the perfect specimens, but there is a kind of identification that goes on between the viewer and these athletes, which narrative wise is pretty effective. The Olympics is the first time many people saw 3x3.
Patrick Baumann would have been so proud and it would have been the crowning achievement of his career.
Chapter 1
FIBA shows interest in three on three
IN EARLY July 2007, Patrick Baumann should have been jaded as he traversed different continents scurrying between his high profile roles with FIBA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Amid a gruelling schedule, the FIBA secretary general had spent several hectic days at the IOC s 119th session in Guatemala City where the Russian seaside resort of Sochi was named host city of the 2014 Winter Games.
Baumann, one month shy of his 40th birthday, was a newcomer on the coveted IOC bu

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