Champions League Basketball (CLB) and Basketball New South Wales (BNSW) have joined forces to help grow the sport of 3x3 basketball under the CLB3X3 banner.
With the shorter form of the game now added to the schedule for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the initiative and foresight shown by BNSW clearly sets the benchmark for other states to follow.
BNSW CEO Maria Nordstrom was extremely excited about the partnership, explaining to The Pick and Roll that this was a big step forward.
"We are really excited to announce this partnership," said Nordstrom in Melbourne to launch the partnership. "Matt and Yvette [Hollard] have the experience of running 3x3 events around the country through CLB 3x3. We have seen what they have been able to achieve and we believe that partnering with them is the best way forward for NSW.
"3x3 basketball is widely considered to be globally the number one urban team sport and we are excited that CLB will complement our strategy to grow the game of basketball in NSW.
“In June of this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that 3x3 basketball is now a part of the Olympic Basketball program starting with Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This announcement brings a new focus on the 3x3 game and will bring new opportunities and interest to the game of basketball globally, nationally and right here in NSW”.
It was a sentiment shared by CLB General Manager Matt Hollard who was looking forward to continuing to help grow and promote 3x3 across Australia with a view to the world stage.
"This is a great next step for CLB 3x3 and the sport in the country," shared Hollard. "We have held events all across Australia, secured an invitation to a Challenger event in Mongolia which we attended, and we are feverishly working towards bringing the FIBA 3x3 World Tour down under in the near future. However we need to grow the sport here first, and through partnering with Basketball New South Wales, we are now putting in place a blue print that will enable sustainable, future success.
"As a team we will be working hard to increase both the female and male participation numbers and see Australia eventually make it’s mark on the 3x3 world stages."
As one of Australia's four representatives at the 2017 FIBA 3x3 World Cup for Women, Bec Cole spoke glowingly of her experience in France that saw the team finish ninth.
"It was such an amazing experience," outlined Cole in speaking with The Pick and Roll. "For that first game, we were just not as prepared as we needed to be to play 3x3 - it is such a different game. Our preparation was very limited, so while talent-wise we were one of the best teams there, our lack of experience was the one thing that stood out."
"I can see 3x3 really taking off in Australia, especially with the women. It is such an exciting game, just 10 minutes, and it is non-stop. You have to be athletic, and super fit to play this form, so the entertainment value is very high."
Cole now knows. With Australia's talent pool, through adding a structured pathway and providing quality competition and playing experience, a team from down under could eventually rule the world.
Australia is currently ranked at just 56 in the FIBA 3x3 world rankings with 2,081,019 points, belying their overall standing at 5 when it comes to the traditional form of the game. The number 1 country for 3x3 is Serbia, with a whopping 24,988,455 ranking points. It is a position that Nordstrom is keen to lead the charge in remedying.
“BNSW and CLB will provide our associations with a 3x3 pack for conducting 3x3 events over the coming weeks,"added Nordstrom. "All 3x3 events should be registered through CLB to maximise Australia’s points towards international qualifications and FIBA 3x3 rankings."
It is understood that BNSW is working with local councils to bring the urban game to some of the state's most iconic locations, including playing at the Sydney Opera House. Two events have already been locked in, so get set for the rise of 3x3 basketball in NSW!
Event 1 – 3 x 3 Tip Off @Sydney Olympic Park Fri 22nd and Sat 23rd September, 2017 U13’s, U15’s, U18’s open men and women
Event 2 – 3x3 Festival of Basketball* @Sydney Olympic Park Fri 8th and Sat 9th December, 2017 U13’s, U15’s, U18’s open men and women
*All players receive FREE entry to the NBL/WNBL double-header at Qudos Bank Arena thanks to the Sydney Kings and the Sydney Uni Flames