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Could 3-On-3 Basketball Be The Next Olympic Sport?

The International Olympic Committee has been asked to consider adding 3-on-3 basketball to the 2016 Rio Games.

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With the Rio Games merely three years away, organizers are finalizing the list of sports that will be hosted. The IOC has already removed baseball, softball, and, shockingly, wrestling from the Olympics, and now they're looking to possibly add 3-on-3 basketball.

FIBA made the proposal for this format, and even though there won't be an official decision until the IOC executive board votes on it in August, we thought it'd be a good idea to check out the sport, just in case.

So what exactly would 3-on-3 basketball look like in the Olympics?

Remember the movie White Men Can't Jump? Of course you do, that movie is awesome. Anyway, 3-on-3 basketball is sort of like that...the format was inspired by several forms of streetball from around the world, or what some may consider the "pick-up game" style.

Basically, teams of three (plus a sub) play each other on one half-court, and the top teams in each group advance.

How it got started...

FIBA started testing this format at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games and 3-on-3 made its worldwide competitive debut at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore, featuring 40 teams from 38 different countries.

How it's different...

Unlike the NBA or the international games you might be used to watching, 3-on-3 basketball is only ten minutes long, and the first team to 21 points wins the game.

If neither team has reached 21 at the end of regulation, the team with the highest score wins the game. If the game goes into OT, the first team to score 2 points wins.

Aside from that, the rules play pretty close to the playground:

Shots inside the arc, and free throws, are one point, with shots outside the arc awarding two points.

There's no "make-it-take-it" rule, and a defensive player must dribble or pass the ball out beyond the arc, following a turnover or a missed shot.

Additionally, the traditional jump ball to start the game is replaced with a coin-flip to determine the first possession.

There's also a 12-second shot clock and only one timeout per team. Also, dunking is not permitted unless the court has approved breakaway rims. Which they better, because dunks are, like, the best part of basketball.

Why it could be cool...

The most obvious benefit of this format is that it allows small basketball countries the opportunity to be competitive on the highest level. In essence, it makes every "team" stronger by eliminating the "team" component. For example, a German team that's 33% Dirk Nowitzki has a better chance of winning than one whose Dirk quotient is 20% or less.

It also makes practice easier, which is helpful for all developmental teams.

But more importantly, it speeds everything up. With one thirty-second timeout, ten minutes of total game time, and the elimination of half of the entire court, 3-on-3 basketball could become one of the most exciting sports in the Olympics.

That said, don't expect to see Lebron, Kobe, and Chris Paul out there representing Team USA. It seems that the 3-on-3 tournament will be something of a second banana to the 5-on-5 format, but the weaker American representation will also allow developing countries a chance at the top prize, which is good for basketball's international development in the long run.

Now let's take a look at some of the games from the 2010 Youth Olympics...

View this video on YouTube

View this video on YouTube

Anybody else want to go outside and play basketball now?

To see the official FIBA 3-on-3 Rule Book, click here.