Streetball India: Fueling the Growth of Basketball with the 3v3 Format

Streetball India: Fueling the Growth of Basketball with the 3v3 Format

On May 12, the dreams of many young basketball enthusiasts in India came true as team Pistol Group clinched the Red Bull Half Court National Finals 2024 trophy. Their victory over Diphu Nihang Red at Chandigarh’s Elante Mall secured their spot in the world finals in New York City this October.

Streetball India: Fueling the Growth of Basketball with the 3v3 Format

Despite its allure and grandeur, basketball has not been able to leave its mark on the Indian athletic landscape since it is overshadowed by sports like cricket.

Federations and organizations, on the other hand, have started to adopt the urban basketball culture and have started to host 3v3 “Streetball” competitions.

Dreams for a number of the nation’s young hoopers took off on May 12 at Chandigarh’s Elante Mall when Ludhiana’s team Pistol Group won the Red Bull Half Court National Finals 2024 trophy and qualified for the world finals in October in New York City. The team defeated Diphu Nihang Red in the championship match.

People seeing the players twist and spin away from their opponents on the court were drawn to the shorter version of the game because it is faster, more muscular, and explosive. The energy on the court increased with each basket, dunk, and block.

In the event, the Pistol Group team—which consists of Gurbaz Singh Sandhu, Arvinder Kahlon, Nawaz Singh, and Kamaldeep Singh—will play against other national champions, popularizing the 3v3 basketball variant, which has a looser structure than the regular game.

The Indian team’s Gurbaz described the 3v3 format as a “sudden rush” variation of the game.
“In a 5v5 match, you may believe you have time to come up if the opposing team gains an advantage. However, until the time runs out, there is no guarantee of winning or losing in this format, Gurbaz said.
Lalrina Renthlei of Diphu Nihang Red, the runner-up, stated that her favorite aspect of the game is its toughness.

“Basketball is already a very physically demanding sport. However, because there are no fixed positions in 3v3, every player on the floor is expected to shoot and guard at all times, Lalrina explained, the intensity is stronger.

FIBA 3v3 player Lalrina, who has competed for India, referred to the game’s shortened version as the “fastest growing urban sport in the world.”

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Indian Basketball Leagues are Transforming

Due to its private ownership, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) declined to invite UBA players to national and international events, so the UBA Pro Basketball League, which attempted to become India’s first professional basketball league, was shut down in 2017.

The BFI also prevented other attempts to establish private leagues by cautioning coaches and players against participating in competitions that are not approved by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

But after BFI president Aadhav Arjuna declared last week that the National Star Basketball League would become India’s premier basketball league, things appear more positive. In contrast to the UBA, in addition to the customary 5v5 format for both men and women, there will be a separate 3v3 competition.

The league hopes to “provide abundant opportunities for players of all ages and skill levels, thereby creating a robust ecosystem for basketball development” in light of the rising popularity of “Streetball” basketball across the nation.

Streetball: Fueling the Growth of Basketball in India with the 3v3 Format

Following its success at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, 2014, and 2017, 3v3 rapidly gained popularity and was added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after making its formal debut in 2007.

After former player and businessman Rohit Bakshi founded a professional 3v3 basketball league approved by FIBA in 2017, the sport gained popularity in India. The “3BL” league gave the players a unique chance to participate in FIBA 3×3’s international circuit, including Challengers and World Tours, which helped to increase the sport’s popularity in the nation.

“Players have something to look forward to when there’s a professional league,” Bakshi stated in an interview with the Olympic Channel. It can be your source of income. In India, playing basketball was primarily done as a hobby, and once you quit, you start to lose interest.

The inaugural 3×3 basketball Olympic Qualifying competition was then scheduled to take place in India in March 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to be postponed and rescheduled to Austria.

What’s Ahead for Basketball in India?

Gurbaz stated that since 3v3 basketball is becoming more and more popular across the nation, change must be made gradually.

“We must first concentrate on the Asian Games and work to improve our standing there. After that, we can consider assembling a potent squad that can contend and earn an Olympic berth,” he stated.

“The National Star Basketball League presents a valuable prospect for us to collaborate with international players and enhance our skills.” It is challenging for us to play on a global platform because we have been competing against one another for such a long time, Gurbaz stated.

“Mongolia did not have a strong 5v5 basketball team,” he remarked, using the national 3v3 team as an example. However, they made an investment in the shorter format, and they have achieved incredible success, winning the gold medal in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in both 2017 and 2023.

Mandeep Thour, the head of the technical commission for the Chandigarh Basketball Association, says that one of the main reasons for concern in India is the lack of infrastructure in comparison to Western countries.

“On a grassroots level you will see that the youngsters do not have proper guidance,” he added, speaking on the Red Bull event’s sidelines. “The players who are already playing at the highest level have some access to good coaches and facilities.” If the game is to be improved, an increasing number of MNCs should become engaged.

Things now appear to be moving forward for Indian basketball with the return of former coach of the Indian national men’s team, Scott Flemming, for a second term with the squad.

Arguably one of the most successful coaches in Indian basketball history, the American coach who oversaw the squad from 2012 to 2015 guided his team to a historic victory against China in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup.

India is currently rated 82nd in the globe, so there is still a long way to go before Flemming can start a bright future where the country can compete and do well in international basketball tournaments.

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