The basketball scene in India has gone pro! That’s right, with the introduction of 3x3 Pro Basketball League (3BL), Indians can witness some league-level action. What’s more is that 3BL, the first-ever FIBA recognised league, will be a medal sport in the 2020 Olympics. This shorter and faster format of the traditional 5x5 basketball has just 10 minutes of gameplay, will be played only on half the court with three players on the court and the 4th player on a rotation basis. The league has 12 teams across the country — ‘Delhi Hoopers’, ‘Chandigarh Beasts’, ‘Jaipur Regals’, ‘Aizawl Legends’, ‘Kolkata Warriors’, ‘Ahmedabad Wingers’, ‘Bangalore Machas’, ‘Goa Snipers’, ‘Kochi Knights’, ‘Hyderabad Ballers’, ‘Chennai Icons’ and ‘Mumbai Hustlers’.
Interestingly, the local team Hyderabad Ballers are doing well in the inaugural season of 3BL. Elaborating about the game and the experience, 30-year-old Rohith Lokareddy, a power forward player of the Hyderabad Ballers team, says, “I have been representing Telangana at various All-India tournaments, but with this format, it will be easier to take the game to the masses.” He adds, “Even though I have been playing for the past 14 years, this format gives me the opportunity to balance both my passion and profession, providing me with an ideal gateway to live my life.”
Another Hyderabadi in the home team, 33-year-old Arvind Krishna, feels the introduction of the franchise and the small format has come at the perfect time. “All the players were selected according to their performance in the latest matches. To be a successful player in the short format, one has to dribble, pass and be on top of his game and physical form,” shares Arvind. But the key factor to shine in the 3BL format is to strategise quickly feels this shooting guard position player, who’s also a Tollywood actor. Like any other team sport, in 3BL too, the chemistry and coordination between the players is the key to success. Eban Hyams, a player from Australia and the captain of the Hyderabad Ballers team, feels the Hyderabad team is very talented and that it’s chemistry and coordination are growing. So where to from here? The winning team from the India leg of 3BL will get to play at the World Tour in Utsunomiya, Japan, later this month.