It’s official: 3-on-3 basketball added to Tokyo Olympics

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You, me, and everyone who has played a lot of pick-up basketball has spent as much or more time in a half-court game as they have full-court 5-on-5. You know the rules scoring by 1 or 2, games are to 21, and if the other team misses a shot you have to clear it beyond the three-point line before you can shoot.

Now that game is coming to the Olympics.

As expected, the International Olympic Committee has voted to include 3×3 basketball in the Olympics, starting in 2020 in Tokyo. There will be men’s and women’s divisions. FIBA, the international governing body of basketball, has tried to grow this version of the sport, seeing the potential of something like beach volleyball. To that end, there is even a 3-on-3 world cup that tips off in a couple of weeks in France.

There is also a 3-on-3 league coming to the USA this summer — the Big3. Put together by Ice Cube and some investors, it will feature a number of former NBA players in sort of a barnstorming tour of the USA. The league has potential and tips off June 25.

“We would like to commend the Olympics for making 3-on-3 basketball, the most played sport in the world, an official Olympic sport starting at Tokyo 2020,” Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, co-Founders of the BIG3, said in a released statement. “We have worked tirelessly for the last two years to get the most loved game in the world played by some of the most skilled, brilliant players in the world broadcast on a professionally recognized stage. This announcement by the International Olympic Committee comes at a perfect time, with the BIG3 10-game season tipping off in less than three weeks on June 25 Barclays Center in Brooklyn.”

 

While the Olympic version of 3×3 half-court hoops has a lot of similarities to your local park pick-up game, it has some differences too. There’s a 12-second shot clock, and play never stops — after a made basket the team that gave up the bucket gets the ball and clears it out to the arc then can instantly start. There’s no make-it-and-take-it rule, and the ball does not have to be checked before play starts. Also, there is a 10-minute time limit, in case nobody gets to 21. It’s basically a sprint.

Don’t expect NBA players to jump into this, at least not yet, but the USA is putting pros on the court for the upcoming World Cup. The 2017 USA men’s team features Quinton Chievous (played in college at Tennessee, spent last season in the D-League with Iowa), Myke Henry (DePaul and the Oklahoma City Blue of the D-League), Alfonzo McKinnie (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Windy City Bulls of the D-League), and Jonathan Octeus (Purdue and the Windy City Bulls).

Report: Mike Woodson close to joining Suns coaching staff

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The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.

Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.

Via Twitter:

Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.

This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.

With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.

Andre Iguodala out for Game 4 Tuesday vs. Rockets

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“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”

That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.

This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.

Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.

Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.

 

WNBA team rehearses ring ceremony at practice of team it beat in Finals

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.

The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.

Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.