August 20, 2017

First 3x3 pro basketball league coming to India next year; showcase event planned in Gurugram next month

Progress and development isn't always a straight line - or in basketball terms, a straight drive to the open basket. Sometimes, offenses need to find creative ways of moving forward, to use new tactics, to approach the same solution from different angles.

For Indian basketball, that new angle has come through the launch of a first-ever professional 3x3 basketball league. India has a short-term UBA pro league but still no full-time 5x5 league for basketball professionals. On Saturday, the international pro 3x3 league was officially announced in New Delhi by YKBK Enterprise Pvt Ltd, which has the exclusive rights from International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to create and implement the league in the Indian Sub-Continent.

While the League is tentatively scheduled for next year, a special two-day 3x3 showcase event called the ‘3x3 Road to Mexico’ will be conducted on 16th & 17th September at the Ambience Mall, Gurugram.

Six international and six leading Indian club teams have been invited to participate in the 3BL, including India's ONGC, IOB, Railways, Services, Ludhiana Basketball Academy and Vijaya Bank, and visiting squads from overseas such as Hamamatsu, Alborada, Yokohama (all three are city based teams from Japan), the Malaysian National Team, Sri Lanka President’s Team and a side from Maldives.

"3x3 is not only FIBA's second official discipline and will be played in Tokyo 2020 at the Olympics, it moreover is the number 1 urban team sport in the world," said Robert Reiblinger, FIBA 3x3 Development Manager, at the league's launching press conference at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. "Therefore, India with its plenty of metropolitan areas has a sheer unlimited pool of athletes and talent to offer. Indian teams have had their fair share of success already in 3x3 on continental national team level and Indian players raised some eyebrows on global level when they pushed their team last year to the finals of FIBA's 3x3 World Tour Final. FIBA is very excited to now have with this event as a direct World Tour Qualifier that will take India to the World stage again."

Also present at the launch ceremony were Yoshiya Katoh (YKBK Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. – Chairman), Rohit Bakshi (YKBK Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. – CEO), Neha Dhupia (Indian Film Actor & Host), Jyoti Jindal (Jindal PreFab – Managing Director), and Jitender Yadav (Pragati Infra Solutions Pvt. Ltd. – CEO & Founding Director).

Apart from cash prizes to the finalists, the winning team at the ‘3x3 Road to Mexico’ will receive an all expenses paid trip to participate the FIBA 3x3 World Tour – Mexico City from 30th September to 1st October 2017.

"We are excited to bring FIBA 3x3 Basketball to the Indian subcontinent and are committed to keep pushing this fast paced urban sport into many cities in the region," said Katoh. "'3x3 Road to Mexico' will be a new opportunity for players, spectators and fans alike to get their first taste of 3x3 Pro Basketball League action. 3BL will create grassroots 3x3 basketball and will be building 3x3 basketball courts across the Indian subcontinent."

The 3x3 format of basketball has come a long way in recent years and will be held in the Olympics for the first time in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. India has enjoyed relatively betters in 3x3 in recent years at the international stage.

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