The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are just around the corner in Tokyo, and qualifying games are underway to finalize the fields of each respective sport. With all the athletic talent on display year-round here in the United States of America, you would think our players would be a shoo-in to qualify for just about every sport held during the summer games.
Well, not so fast. This year’s summer games will debut a new sport in FIBA three-on-three basketball. Yes, you heard that correctly 3-on-3 basketball is now part of the Olympic summer games. If you had forgotten about this or may not have even known this was a thing, don’t worry, you are not alone.
It feels like a no-brainer for Team USA’s men and women to qualify for any kind of basketball tournament held during the Olympics. Right? Well, think again. Team USA’s women have held up their end of the bargain, but the men were not as lucky.
The USA men’s team lost to the Netherlands on Sunday in the FIBA 3-on-3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. This was the final opportunity to qualify for the eight-team summer games field in Tokyo. On the flip side, the women beat Spain, thus qualifying for their respective field.
With the men failing to qualify, this will be the first year the United States has not qualified for a basketball event in the Olympics since 1976. Of course, this was the regular five-on-five version, but you get the point.
Of all the sports played in America, it feels like basketball in any form is the one that Team USA should qualify for in their sleep. This is yet another example of how the original Dream Team (1992) helped transform basketball into a global sport. There are phenomenal non-American players all over the NBA at this point.
Luckily, Team USA’s women came prepared and managed to qualify for the summer games. It will be interesting to see how this 3-on-3 style of basketball fairs on a worldwide stage, such as the Olympics. But also to watch how the international rules impact the play on the court.