Team USA men miss out on 3x3 Olympic qualification in milestone first; WNBA stars clinch women's spot

·3-min read

The United States will not be represented on the men's side at the Olympic debut of 3-on-3 street basketball this summer. It marks the first time in history the U.S. did not qualify for a basketball event at the Olympics.

The U.S. team lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinal of the men's Olympic qualifying tournament on Sunday. There were three available spots out of the tournament. 

However, the U.S. will be represented on the women's side after the group of top WNBA talent defeated Spain in the semifinals. 

Team USA men's squad doesn't qualify for 3x3

Team USA was represented at the qualifying tournament in Graz, Austria, by former NBA players Dominique Jones, Robbie Hummel, Kareem Maddox and Joey King. The 2019 world champions were eliminated by the Netherlands, 21-16. 

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The U.S. finished sixth in the tournament standings out of 20 nations. Active NBA players do not compete on the international 3x3 level and had the U.S. qualified, would not have participated on the team at the Olympics. 

Latvia and Poland joined the Netherlands in qualifying. Japan, China, the Russia Olympic Committee and Serbia have already clinched their tickets on the men's side in the eight-nation event. 

The final spot will go to the winner of a tournament later this week in Hungary played between lower-ranked nations. 

WNBA stars clinch Olympic 3x3 berth 

The women's 3x3 squad clinched its spot in a 21-13 semifinal victory against Spain. The team is made up of current WNBA stars Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Seattle Storm). 

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Team USA went 6-0 in the qualifying tournament and finished atop the standings. They're joined in Olympic qualifying by France and Japan, which defeated Spain in overtime for the final spot. 

The trio join China, the Russian Olympic Committee, Romania and Mongolia with one final spot remaining for the winner of a qualifying tournament in Hungary later this week. 

Olympic 3x3 basketball to make debut 

The 3x3 format makes its debut in Tokyo featuring half-court games that end after 10 minutes or when a team scores 21 points. It is played outdoors with a 12-second shot clock. 

Made shots are one point, or if made behind the arc count for two points. The more open spacing allows a team to quickly turn it around if they're in a deficit and can provide for more quick-scoring excitement. 

The U.S. has qualified for all 32 traditional Olympic basketball tournament on the men's and women's sides, earning a medal all 30 times they participated. Basketball was introduced in 1904 but not contested for a medal on the men's side until the 1936 games. The women's tournament began in 1976. Both men's and women's teams qualified for the 1980 games in Moscow, but did not play because of a boycott. 

The men's traditional 5-on-5 team has won gold 15 times. The women's traditional 5-on-5 team is going for a seventh consecutive gold at this year's Olympics. 

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