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What is 3x3 Basketball?
Written by Chris Ghim | Published. 2021.01.14 09:43 | Count : 1499

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “basketball?” Some will imagine a basketball court, a basketball rim, or the ball. These are essential prerequisites for anyone who plays basketball. Then, what image comes to your mind when you hear “a basketball game?” Many will think about 5x5 (which is read as “5-on-5”) basketball game, which is played with 5 players on each team, as National Basketball Association (NBA), the Korean Basketball League (KBL), or maybe the comic “Slam Dunk” all utilize this method of play. However, there is another branch of basketball game, which is 3x3 basketball game, which is played with 3 players on each team.
3x3 basketball is a form of the game played three players on a side on one basketball hoop.

[Photo of the author (white shirt) with Minsu Park. Photo Credit: Chris Ghim]

To get more information about 3x3 basketball, I interviewed Minsu Park, a Korean 3x3 basketball national player.

Would you give an explanation of the origins of Korean 3x3 basketball?
“Well, 3x3 basketball was known as street basketball before Korean FIBA-steered 3x3 basketball tournaments were held in 2014 and 2015. Korea also started to send the national team to China once a year. In 2018, 3x3 basketball was added to the Asian Games and Olympic Games, which was when 3x3 basketball started to become popular.”

[Photo of Minsu Park. Photo courtesy by Minsu Park]

The followings are FIBA rules: 1 basket on 1 half-court, 2 teams of 3 players and up to 1 substitute player, 12 seconds to attack the rim, and a team to reach 21 points or best after 10 minutes win.

Could you explain the differences between 3x3 basketball and 5x5 basketball?
“Firstly, the 3x3 basketball game transitions quickly and a game takes 10 minutes to determine a win or loss, so the audience can watch many games in a day. Moreover, it is beneficial for the team that has high accuracy of shooting during the 3x3 basketball game. For instance, in 5x5 basketball, there are two-point shots and three-point shots. On the contrary, in 3x3 basketball, there are one-point shots and two-point shots. Therefore, it is easy for the players to come-from-behind and win by making two-point shots during 3x3 basketball games. Yet, there are lots of games in a day, so the players have to wait a while until they play a game and there is a high risk of injury because the games are rough and intense compared to 5x5 basketball games.”

What was your motivation to join the Korean national 3x3 basketball team? Do you have any memorable events during your time on the national team?
“When I was playing in a basketball club, I heard rumors that people can participate in the Asian Games, so I joined a tournament league that chose the players to join the Asian Games. During that time, I wanted to become a Korean 3x3 basketball national player and winning gold medal in the Asian Games meant I could be exempted from military service. Unfortunately, opportunities for joining Asian Games went to young Korea Basketball League(KBL) players. Afterwards, I had an opportunity to join FIBA 3x3 Asian Cup tournament and became a Korean 3x3 basketball national player. The most memorable event is when I first participated in the FIBA 3x3 Asian Cup tournament in 2018 and got to the finals by defeating Iran.”

[Photo of Minsu Park playing 3x3 basketball game against team Serbia.
Photo courtesy by Minsu Park]

From my interview with Minsu Park, I learned that 3x3 basketball is one of the Olympic sport entries and it recently started gaining popularity within the public. Also, not only is being very skillful important, but managing your stamina masterfully and having a good harmony are also crucial to become a basketball national player. Through professional players like Minsu Park and other national players, I hope 3x3 basketball will become popular enough so that anyone can enjoy watching and playing it. 

Chris Ghim
Grade 11 
The Learning Community International School


Loco about Basketball

Chris Ghim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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