Philadelphia basketball has a reputation for being gritty, hard nosed, and relentless. “That’s the only thing you know. Nothing is easy,” Philadelphia native and former NBA player Jameer Nelson said.
On Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Nelson and fellow Philadelphia native and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud joined Team Princeton’s 3×3 men’s basketball player Robbie Hummel and Philadelphia 76ers Event Host Christian Crosby to discuss the game of basketball, especially 3×3 basketball and its debut in the upcoming Summer Olympics.
More than 75 members of the “hard-nosed” Philadelphia basketball community came to Mitchell & Ness’ store to celebrate Red Bull’s launch of the 3X can and hear from the four. While all four have connections to USA Basketball, each brought a different mindset on the game and its evolution to 3×3.
Fast Paced Action
3×3 is played with three players per team on a half-court and a 12-second shot clock. Baskets made inside the arc are worth one point, and baskets made from behind the 3-point line are worth two points. The winner is the first team to reach 21 points, or the leading team after 10 minutes. “The first time I saw this, I asked ‘What is going on?’ because you never see this in any other form of basketball,” Hummel told the crowd after watching the game’s strategy.
The Game We Love
“It was a little bit intimidating at first,” Cloud said of her first experience playing with USA Basketball and the 3×3 game, but once she got used to it, she said she fell in love. Nelson compared the game to the 3×3 he used to run in NBA practices, but Hummel and Cloud countered. Hummel and Cloud added that in the NBA, one can admire a three-pointer, back-pedal and chill, but in 3×3, one has to immediately guard. Nelson said he didn’t think a “stubby point guard from Chester” (referring to himself) would have much success in the game, but added that New Orleans Pelicans’ JJ Redick and Los Angeles Clippers’ Landry Shamet are two players that would thrive.
“Versatility,” Hummel said of which type of players would excel in the league referencing Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard. Cloud added that Las Vegas Aces’ Kelsey Plum is a prime example of a player with an all-round game excelling in 3×3. For a sport just starting to take shape in the United States, the panel was asked about its future. For them, they all said it’s in its infancy and about to take off in the U.S.
“When it gets to the Olympics and the more eyes are on it, they’re going to be drawn to it. It’s a faster paced game,” Cloud said. “People are going to love it. It’s intense, it’s fast-paced, everyone plays. It appeals to what we like to watch.”
All photos courtesy of Red Bull Hoops.