The International Olympic Committee has confirmed that 3×3 basketball will be included as an Olympic sport starting at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

And for the growth and development of one of the world’s most watched sports, it’s welcome news. The game itself has seen a spectacular transformation from the streets to specially designed courts set-up all over the globe.

And the true beauty of this decision is that it provides new opportunities for basketball-mad countries that usually wouldn’t get a look into the traditional basketball tournament that features 12 teams, exclusively.

It also provides new players with a chance to play in the Olympics; the height of any athlete’s career.

“This is a historic day for FIBA and 3×3”, FIBA Secretary General and IOC Member Patrick Baumann said.

“It is the recognition of 10 years of hard work to codify the rules of 3×3 and to innovate with a unique 3×3 digital platform and player ranking system that bring together athletes with private and institutional organisers in a worldwide network of FIBA organised or sanctioned 3×3 events.”

3×3 has the Olympics in its DNA. In 2007, FIBA decided to propose to the IOC to add 3×3 to the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore, which ended up being the first official 3×3 event.

The event itself was a resounding success and also at the 2014 edition in Nanjing, China. With today’s decision, 3×3 basketball becomes the first-ever new YOG discipline to be included in the Olympic program.

3×3 tournaments can be staged indoors like in shopping malls, outdoors on traditional basketball courts or in iconic locations with an efficient and compact temporary stage, always with the goal to bring basketball directly to the people within an urban festival atmosphere.

The next 3×3 event is the prestigious World Cup, to be held June 17-21 in Nantes, France.

Slovenia are the reigning 3×3 FIBA European champions. Photo: FIBA

“The intensity and skill level of the 3×3 Game is such that there are no traditional 3×3 powerhouses and new countries have emerged since the first YOG experience in 2010,” said FIBA president Horacio Muratore.

“This was our main objective back in 2007. The decision provides FIBA with a renewed, strong incentive to continue in this direction and grow the game of basketball by developing new young skilled basketball talents in both genders across the globe from small islands to large countries in every continent.”