LONDON - Could three-on-three basketball be coming to the Olympics?
It will if FIBA, the international governing body, has its way. Secretary-general Patrick Baumann said Saturday that his group planned to propose it to be played as early as the 2016 Rio Games.
Three-on-three, the game played in driveways, on playgrounds and around the country during the annual Gus Macker tournaments, debuted in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. FIBA wants to create a comprehensive ranking system that would determine the best three-on-three teams in the world. FIBA already has a three-on-three world tour and world championship, but Baumann welcomed all three-on-three tournaments, such as Gus Macker and Hoop It Up, into the fold as long as those tournaments adhered to FIBA rules, including the registration of players in a database to chart wins and losses.
"Like volleyball has beach volleyball, swimming has synchronized swimming, we want three-on-three to be part of it," Baumann said.
After rankings determine the top teams worldwide, Baumann said, each nation would be responsible for creating a format to determine which team it would send to the Olympics.
Baumann reasoned that three-on-three would allow more countries to experience the Olympics and help FIBA expand basketball's global popularity. He said smaller basketball nations regularly send teams to the three-on-three world championship.
"We've chosen three-on-three as being one way of bringing that community into the Games," he said. "For us, this is also really about growing the mass of players on a grass-roots basis. We want them to be part of the family and hopefully have new talents for the game."