USA Basketball details how Olympic 3×3 teams will be chosen

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USA Basketball will choose its teams for the Olympic debut of 3×3 via selection committee, but it’s unlikely NBA players will be eligible.

USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said that FIBA rules dictate all four players on each of the men’s and women’s teams, should the U.S. qualify (more on that here), must accumulate ranking points by playing in 3×3 events for the year leading up to June 22, 2020.

Two of the four players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in the FIBA rankings, based on results from the last 12 months, on June 22, 2020. The other two must be in the top 100. That means nobody can make the Olympic team without playing in a FIBA-endorsed 3×3 event.

Ideally, USA Basketball wants to take an entire 3×3 team that has been playing together. But it could pick and choose players from different teams. The Olympic teams would be named at the latest possible date before the overall July 6, 2020 entries deadline for the Games.

NBA players would likely have to use their 2019 offseason to play 3×3 and accumulate ranking points.

“It’s unlikely, but by the letter of the law, it is possible,” Tooley said. “You could get somebody who plays in a tournament in some open window, perhaps, that earns enough points to be eligible. That’s to be determined.

“It wasn’t [FIBA’s] vision to say this is another opportunity for NBA players. It’s for a different generation, a different style of player.”

USA Basketball has heard from one unnamed WNBA player who is interested in going for both the traditional, 12-player team event and the 3×3 event, though that double may not be doable given the Olympic schedule. The WNBA season calendar, from May to September, opens up more opportunities for players to venture into 3×3 events.

USA Basketball is trying to get the word out to potential 3×3 Olympic hopefuls, as well as evaluate them, by announcing a series of more than 20 domestic 3×3 tournaments sponsored by Red Bull on Thursday. The first is June 22 in Detroit. It starts getting serious with national championships in Las Vegas this week.

So far, the highest-profile player taking part in elite-level 3×3 is former Purdue star Robbie Hummel, who played 98 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2013-15.

Three-on-three games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

MORE: 3×3 basketball players juggle jobs, schoolwork

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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