On September 19th, the South Gym at El Segundo High School was packed and buzzing with excitement. Dozens of varsity basketball players awaited a chance to train with professional FIBA players for their favorite sport. But this was no ordinary, professional basketball team; Team Lausanne from Switzerland currently plays the new, fast-paced version of basketball primed to premiere at the 2020 Olympics — 3x3.
Now, what exactly is 3x3? 3x3, or three-on-three basketball, is a take on the traditional game. Two teams, each with three players, face off on half the court to dribble and shoot until victory. Due to the smaller court and fewer players, the action moves at lightning speed with each round only lasting ten minutes! According to 3x3 manager Darcy Coss, 3x3 started out as a practice technique and a way to play with more people since many of teams lacked enough players for a normal 5x5 basketball game. Subsequently, this party technique morphed into a new game with a new culture. As Lausanne player, Gilles, said, “We started to play for us and to be a team to compete, and then when you can see there is another aspect of it where you can transfer this social culture and you can integrate people who can’t play five on five...it is even more amazing for us”.
And this “social culture” is precisely why Team Lausanne ended up in the gym of ESHS. While on their world tour, the FIBA 3x3 league strives to practice outreach into the communities they pass by; they hope to familiarize people with this new spin on basketball. As manager Darcy said, “This event is to get out to the community… any time we come to a different community we want to be in that community. We want to activate and tell people ‘hey we are here’. And because it is such a new discipline...we want to show them that yes, these players are real.” This El Segundo community was fortunately put onto their radar because of the LA Street Festival, which hosted the FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Tournament. This festival gave Team Lausanne the perfect opportunity to practice with ESHS athletes and introduce them to the world of 3x3.
Over all, the workshop was a great success. The students practiced with incredible athletes and were able to learn about the new world of 3x3. ESHS Coach David March commented, “It is an amazing opportunity for the young people in this school community to get to see an example of what good basketball is, and a potential to maybe get an Olympic bid one day in their future.” This new outreach and new sport could motivate students to reach one day follow in the 3x3 footsteps.