Basketball is one of the most popular sports today. And although it originated in the United States of America, a basketball hoop can now be seen on any sports ground, schoolyard, or playground around the globe. The game dates back to the 19th century when it came up as a local entertainment for college students. Basketball became an Olympic sport just a few decades after its appearance. And almost a century later, in Tokyo, 3×3 basketball, the street version, is played under the banner of the Olympic rings.
The classic gameplay traditionally features two teams on the court; each of them consists of twelve players, but only five are allowed to be on the court. The number of substitutions is not limited. The main task of each player is to throw the ball into the opponent’s hoop, prevent the opponent from taking possession of the ball and defend their basket. The size of the court is 15 by 28 meters (94 by 50 feet). Due to the small area, the game is very dynamic and exciting. The backboard height is 10 feet, or 305 centimeters, which is why tall athletes are so appreciated for having easier access to the basket. Points are awarded for each goal: 2 per shot before the three-point line and 3 after it. There are also free throws, the value of which is equal to one point.
World basketball history
Once upon a time, the students of the Christian Youth Association College were very fed up with attending physical education classes. It was wintertime, which meant they could not play outdoors, but only practice indoors. By that time, the boys were really bored with gymnastic exercises, which were then the only way to maintain physical health in the gym. Their teacher James Naismith noticed that young men do the exercises without enthusiasm, so he suggested an alternative. He brought two fruit baskets with him to the next class, tied them to opposite walls of the room, and made two teams of nine players from eighteen boys. The idea of his new game was to throw the balls into the baskets of the opponents and do it more times than another team. So, on the first day of winter 1891, basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Of course, initially, the game was very different from its 21st-century version. The athletes did not know what driving the ball is. They simply stood still and threw the ball to each other until they could throw it into the basket. Even so, the popularity of basketball began to spread throughout the world. Since 1895, the game settled in the Philippines, China, Japan, the countries of South and Central America, and then Europe. Soon basketball was introduced at the Olympics:
- At the Games, which were held in the USA in 1904, the first exhibition match was played. Only local American teams took part in it.
- After a twenty-year break, exhibition tournaments were also played in Paris in 1924 and in Amsterdam in 1928.
Lack of conformity among the associations was the main obstacle to obtaining the status of an Olympic sport. It was only in 1932 that the International Federation of Basketball Associations was formed and the first rules were adopted, which were followed throughout the world. And in 1936, the debut of basketball took place at the well-known ninth Olympic Games in Berlin. Teams from 21 countries took part in the competition, and athletes from the United States won the first gold medals.
Until 1976, only men played basketball at the Olympics, although female championships have been held since 1952. But six women’s teams were represented for the first time in Montreal.
The basketball rules have o a hundred years. And this applies not only to the classic game but also to its modifications. In the 21st century, various types of basketball have become so widespread that they start receiving their own Olympic pictograms.
3×3 Basketball: a newcomer to the 2020 Olympics
Once a street game played in the poor quarters of large cities, 3×3 basketball has finally acquired the status of an Olympic sport. Now it is not just entertainment, but a full-featured sport discipline with clear rules and professional athletes. This discipline develops dynamically and is considered to be very democratic.
In Tokyo, the first-ever Olympic street basketball or streetball tournaments were held on the second day after the opening, so the relevant sets of medals were the very first to be played for. Both male and female teams took part. A total of 8 teams competed.
Here are some streetball features:
- there are two teams playing, but with one hoop;
- only 6 players can be on the court – 3 from a team;
- points are calculated as in the traditional version, but there is no 3-point throw;
- after the turnover, it is allowed to the attack start only from behind the 2-point line;
- the court is quite small – 15 by 11 meters (94 by 50 feet);
- one match lasts 10 minutes only;
- the team that was the first to score 21 points win;
- if after the final signal the opponents have the same score, then overtime is assigned, which ends if the difference reaches 2 points.
First, round-robin qualifiers were held in Tokyo between all 8 teams. The two semi-finals brought together the winning teams and those who were second. Then a match was held, which determined who would receive the bronze, and only then the final took place.
This sport is quite young, and therefore dynamic. Before the start of the Olympics, the USA women’s team and China men’s team were considered to be the favorites. If the women’s team of the United States proved its title of the World Champion and received a gold medal (the ROC team won the 2nd place, and the Chinese team won the 3rd place), then the results of the men’s matches came as a surprise: the athletes of the Latvian national team became the first Olympic gold medalists (the 2nd place went to the ROC team, while Serbia was third). 3X3 basketball is so interesting to watch because of such interesting turns of events and sports forecasts. For more information on the results of the Olympic Games and other basketball and streetball championships, visit specialized platforms, such as Scores24. Follow the link https://scores24.live/en/basketball for information about basketball matches that is updated every day.