LeBron James is thrilled the International Olympic Committee has approved a plan to add 3-on-3 basketball but you won’t be seeing him represent Team USA in Tokyo in 2020. “I think it’s great for basketball,” James said Sunday. “For us to be able to add another category to the Olympics, another basketball category, I think it’s pretty great. I haven’t seen the full layout of how they plan on executing it; and are they going to use NBA guys or are going to use college guys?”
“I’m not very good in a three-on-three thing, I’m more of a five-on-five guy,” James said. “I stay out of the one-on-one matchups during our practice, the two-on-twos and the three-on-threes. So probably not. I probably won’t be a part of the three-on-three matchup that it has to offer.”
The best Cav at such a format, some players say, wouldn’t be James anyway but teammate Kyrie Irving. “Kyrie for sure,” JR Smith said. “He’s probably the best one-on-one player already. And Kyle [Korver] would be a really good three-on-three player because he moves without the ball and he can catch-and-shoot the [expletive] out of it.”
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum says the IOC’s announcement that 3-on-3 will be in the 2020 Olympics “continues to signify the growing popularity of basketball around the world. The last few years, we have made a major push in 3-on-3 basketball with our nationwide Dew NBA 3X tour and several international 3-on-3 competitions… the Olympic stage will provide these elite athletes with the opportunity to further demonstrate their talents.”
Olympics organizers are eager to get the ball rolling, or rather bouncing, as they look toward the 2020 program in Tokyo. According to the Associated Press, the International Olympic Committee is all but certain it will add 3-on-3 basketball to its ever-changing list of events. “It would certainly be a perfect fit,” Patrick Baumann, the secretary general of world basketball’s governing body, told the news service on Friday.
After dealing with ankle and knee injuries last season, Stephen Curry made the wise decision not to travel to Rio de Janeiro. No one should doubt, though, that he’ll be on the plane to Japan in four years when the Games are staged in Tokyo. “The way it went down this past year with the injury, it was the right decision,” Curry said to FIBA.com in his hometown of Charlotte, where he recently played for the Golden State Warriors against the Hornets.