IOC to set 2020 program, include street basketball

AP

A full list of 2020 Tokyo Olympics medal events will be finalized by the IOC executive board next week, one month ahead of schedule.

Among more than 60 proposals, 3-on-3 basketball is an expected favorite after all were analyzed by an International Olympic Committee advisory panel.

The decision is due on Friday at a board meeting in Lausanne called on short notice to discuss awarding the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosting rights to Los Angeles and Paris at the same time later this year.

“Now that we have an (executive board) meeting on June 9 it makes sense to use this opportunity,” the IOC said on Friday. “In addition, an early decision is clearly beneficial to all the parties involved.”

The half-court basketball format — close in spirit to neighborhood park pick-up games — once seemed set for the 2016 Olympics. Its bid for inclusion was curbed when organizers in Rio de Janeiro were stretched preparing for just the regular program.

Now, FIBA believes men’s and women’s tournaments in 3-on-3 are even better suited after skateboarding and sport climbing joined the Tokyo lineup last year.

“Now there is an urban cluster that has been created,” FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann told AP. “The best urban team sport is 3-on-3 street basketball. It would certainly be a perfect fit.”

Still, don’t expect two-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James to seek a third title in the three-a-side game which already has a global tournament circuit.