Wait, 3-on-3 basketball at the Olympics? Yes, you read that correctly.
The competition will make its debut at Tokyo this year and feature the same feel as a pickup hoops game at the local YMCA — except, you know, with much better players. Eight nations will participate as part of the men’s and women’s tournaments and fight for a chance to win the gold medal.
If you’re concerned about jumping into the inaugural event and not fully understanding the rules, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here is everything you need to know about 3-on-3 basketball at the 2021 Olympics.
2021 Olympics 3-on-3 basketball rules, format
Each team will have three players and one sub available to compete in 10-minute, first-to-21 games. If neither team hits 21 points in 10 minutes, then the leading team wins the game.
As for scoring, shots outside of the arc are worth two points, and shots inside the arc are worth one point. Players must clear the ball beyond the arc on defensive rebounds, and possession changes after every make.
One key difference from 5-on-5: The shot clock is just 12 seconds, exactly half the time available in the NBA.
Which countries will be participating in 3-on-3 basketball?
- Men’s teams: Belgium, China, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Russian Olympic Committee, Serbia
- Women’s teams: China, France, Italy, Japan, Mongolia, Romania, Russian Olympic Committee, United States
Olympics 3-on-3 basketball schedule
The men’s and women’s tournaments will be held from July 24 to July 28. The knockout round runs from July 24-27. The quarterfinals will follow on July 27, and the semifinal and final games will be played on July 28.