History, rules and important expressions

3×3, Large 3, 3on3 – if you want to keep track of 3v3 basketball, you need to know the rules of the game and the most important terms in addition to the various leagues and tournaments. Find out all that and more in this 3×3 basketball guide!


The story of 3×3 basketball

3×3 basketball is fast and extremely physical.

© Alex Grymanis / Red Bull Content Pool

Organized 3×3 basketball has evolved from street ball developed where normally loosely composed teams of individual leisure players play against each other in spontaneously formed teams without referees on outdoor courts around the world. Streetball is also usually played for a basket and mostly 3 against 3 (in streetball slang: “3-on-3”) sometimes also 2 against 2 (“2-on-2”), 4 against 4 (“4 -on-3 “). 4 “) or even 1 to 1 (” 1-to-1 “).
In 2007, the World Basketball Association dared FIBA first attempt to establish the organized 3v3 basketball game in Asia. The basketball variant, reduced to one basket and 3 players each, was so well received there that the first official FIBA ​​competition in 3×3 took place already in 2010 as part of the Summer Olympics for Youth in Singapore.

Since 2012, FIBA ​​has hosted 3×3 World Championships and a 3×3 World Tour. In January 2017, American rapper Ice Cube founded the professional 3v3 league Big3 in the United States. In June 2017, the Olympic Committee announced that 3×3 basketball would become an Olympic game at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

Since 2021, as part of the 3×3 tournament Red Bull Half Court the world’s best 3-for-3 streetballers are wanted – with stops in around 20 countries!


3×3 basketball: what is it?

Participants in the Red Bull Half Court tournament in Athens are vying for a place in the Greek final.

3×3 action at Red Bull Half Court in Athens.

© Alex Grymanis / Red Bull Content Pool

3×3 is a variant of classic basketball, where two teams of 3 players play against each other on one basket, instead of 5 against 5 on two baskets as in classic basketball. The counting method is also different: In 3×3, a basket within the throwing circle counts 1 point instead of 2 points as in classic basketball. A stroke outside the throwing circle is worth 2 points instead of 3.

In addition, in 3×3 instead of four times 10 minutes, only one match is played for 10 minutes – or until a team scores 21 points. If you have 24 seconds to complete an attack in classic 5v5 basketball, you only have 12 seconds on the 3×3 shooting clock.

Another important difference to classic team basketball is that the ball does not have to be thrown in again after a basket has been scored before it can continue. In 3×3, the ball changes teams immediately after a basket is scored, and the game continues without interruption or throw-in. This is another reason why 3×3 basketball is considered a “10-minute sprint”!


The most important 3×3 rules and conditions in an instant

Participates in the Red Bull Half Court tournament in Japan shoots on the basket.

This is what a jump shot should look like!

© Jason Halayko / Red Bull Content Pool

  • Game start: 3×3 basketball begins with a coin toss or coin toss. The team that wins the coin toss must decide whether they want the ball early in the game or start a potential overtime.

  • Playing time and overtime: A 3×3 game lasts 10 minutes unless a team manages to score 21 points in advance. If there is a draw after 10 minutes, it goes into overtime. The team that scores 2 points first wins.

  • check ball: After each interruption (ball out of bounds, errors or after a free throw, etc.) the ball is sent from the defender to the offensive player in the middle of the field beyond the throwing circle. Only after this “check” does the game continue. The match clock and shot clock continue to run when the offensive player has the ball.

  • Continuation after scoring: After a successful basket, possession changes. Unlike classic basketball, however, the game continues immediately, with no throw-in, no control. Only two requirements: 1. The team that has given the basket must get the ball behind the throwing circle once (by dribbling or passing). The team that made the basket and now defends must not disturb the attacking player in the semicircle below the basket and must remain outside the small semicircle until the ball has been passed or dribbled out of the semicircle.

  • Continuation after offensive rebound: If the attacking team gets an offensive rebound, they can immediately throw on the basket again without first getting behind the throwing circle again.

  • Continuation after defensive rebound, blocking or theft: If the defending team wins the ball via defensive rebound, blocking or theft, they must first get the ball past the throwing circle before attacking.

  • jump ball situation: After a bouncy ball situation, the defense team receives the ball.

  • Violations and penalties: If a defender commits offenses by an offensive player while throwing inside the throwing circle, the offensive player gets 1 free throw – if the offense occurs while throwing outside the throwing circle, there are 2 free throws. If no error occurs during the throw, only the possession of the ball changes. If a team makes more than 6 errors during a match, the other team gets 2 free throws from the 7th error each time. From the 10th offense, there are 2 penalty throws plus ball possession for each offense. Personal mistakes do not count in 3×3.

  • player change: In 3×3 basketball you can change as often as you want. The only requirement: the game must be interrupted. When making a change, the substitute player must tee out with the substitute, and the change must take place on the out-of-bounds line away from the basket.


The most important 3×3 events

  • FIBA 3×3 World Cup: The FIBA ​​3×3 World Cup is without a doubt the most important global tournament for the best national teams. The 3×3 world champions are determined in three different events – the men’s 3×3 tournament, the women’s 3×3 tournament and the dunk competition. In 2022, the 3x3WC will take place for the seventh time – this time in Antwerp, Belgium (June 21-26).
  • FIBA 3×3 World Tour: Compared to the PGA Tour in golf or the WSL in surfing, the FIBA ​​3×3 World Tour is the highest league in the 3×3 basketball world. From May to December, the qualifying teams collect points in spectacular tournament format stops from Japan to France. It starts this year with the Utsunomiya Opener in Japan on the 14th / 15th. Able to. At the World Tour Finals in Abu Dhabi on 9./10. The 3×3 World Tour Champion 2022 will be finally chosen on December 1st.
  • FIBA 3×3 ladies series: FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series is the most prestigious 3v3 series in the world. In 2022, the worldwide tournament series starts on the 25th. The grand final will take place on the 17th / 18th. September in Constanta, Romania.
  • Red Bull Half Court: Since 2021, Red Bull has been looking for the world’s best 3-on-3 streetball players as part of the 3×3 streetball tournament Red Bull Half Court – with stops in around 20 countries from Algeria to Switzerland! This makes the Red Bull Half Court the most global streetball tournament in the world. From June 18 to July 24, the Red Bull Half Court 2022 will stop in Germany.

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Red Bull Half Court Final Berlin 2021

Red Bull Half Court Final 2021 in Berlin and Mellow Park. 3 vs.3 basketball at its best!


You should know this 3×3 player

  • Dusan Bulut: The 36-year-old Serb is a living streetball legend and GET of 3×3 basketball. Known as Mr. “Bulletproof”, he has been teaching his opponents fear on the field for over a decade now. Bulut combines a dangerous mix of insane skills, basketball IQ and all the hustle and bustle. Throw, drop, snap ankle – there is nothing that Magic Bullet Bulut can not!
3x3 basketball star Dusan Bulut coaches at the Red Bull Half Court in Munich.

Dušan Bulut is known for his spectacular dribbles

© Markus Berger / Red Bull Content Pool

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