|Highest governing body||FIBA|
|Team members||4 (3 on court)|
|Mixed gender||Single or mixed|
|Type||Indoor or outdoor|
Youth Olympic Games since 2010|
Becoming Olympic in 2020
3x3 (pronounced 3 on 3, 3 by 3 or 3x3) basketball 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 main competition is an annual FIBA 3X3 World Tour, comprising a series of Masters and one Final tournament awarding six-figure prize money in US dollars. The FIBA 3x3 World Cups for men and women are the highest tournaments for national 3x3 teams.
3×3 has been a basketball format long played in streets and gyms across the world, albeit in a less formal way. Starting in the late 1980s, three-on-three began to become standardized throughout the United States, most notably through the Gus Macker and Hoop It Up tournament series, which held large events across the country that invited teams and players from all skill levels. Adidas launched its now-discontinued streetball competition in 1992. Since then, the number of 3×3 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 boys' and girls' 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 standalone discipline with its own regular competitions. 3x3 is scheduled to make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
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, was published in January 2018 and a video has been posted on YouTube.
Under the 2018 rules, the departures from regular full-court basketball are as follows:
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".
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.
The NBA has also embraced 3x3, holding a summer series of tournaments known as "Dew NBA 3X" since 2016, where local amateur players from around the US compete in regional events for cash prizes and a finals berth. The men's and women's NBA 3X champions then advance to the USA Basketball national 3x3 championship to potentially represent their country internationally. These tournaments also include live music performances, 3-point shooting contests for fans, an NBA 2K eSports competition, and appearances from current NBA players. In 2017, entertainer Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz founded BIG3, where former NBA and US college basketball stars compete in a traveling league using rules slightly different than the FIBA rulebook, and also using a ball that meets the specifications for the men's full-court game instead of the FIBA 3x3 ball.
Qualification for the FIBA 3x3 World Cups for men and women differs radically from that used for FIBA full-court competitions. According to a 2018 story in The New York Times, 3x3 has "an unusual qualifying system designed to grow the sport all year long as much as find the best teams for the World Cup." For starters, there is no qualifying tournament for the men's or women's 3x3 World Cup--national team entries are based strictly on a country's official 3x3 ranking. Even a ranking that would ostensibly qualify a national team for the World Cup is not sufficient to gain entry, because FIBA currently mandates that the 20 men's and women's teams that participate in a given year's World Cups come from 30 different countries, making it more difficult for nations with strong teams for both sexes to enter both into the World Cup. For example, the US qualified for the 2018 women's World Cup but not the men's version, even though the men were ranked higher than the women on the cutoff date. Merely participating in a FIBA-sanctioned 3x3 event can earn ranking points; according to a FIBA executive interviewed for the New York Times story, "Andorra has heavy participation every weekend." Another issue is the current concentration of ranking events in Europe, making it more difficult for non-European nations, especially the US, to qualify. Additionally, the ranking system for national teams also considers individual player rankings. The aforementioned FIBA executive, when asked about the prospect of the 2020 Olympic debut of 3x3 potentially lacking any participation from the US, admitted that "a lot of teams want to beat the US. Beating the US teams is an achievement."
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 numbered years, since 2012), whilst the U18 category is played every year (since 2011), except in Youth Olympic Games years.
Classification to the World Championships is based on the 3x3 Federation Ranking, which 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 also feature individual competitions such as dunking and shooting.
On June 9, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee announced that 3x3 basketball would be added to the Olympic programme for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, for both men and women.