A new basketball competition has been launched in New Zealand with the National Basketball League's (NBL) Schick 3X3 Cup to tip off in September.
The tournament will see ten men's and women's teams assemble in Southland from September 3-5, with the hope of expansion in 2021 which would see four rounds played across New Zealand.
Basketball New Zealand head of high-performance Leonard King feels the format will encourage more people to play the sport.
"3X3 has been quite the innovation in the sport these past ten years," he says.
"FIBA has long seen the potential in this new version of the sport, with its inclusion at the Olympic Games it is going to be exposed to a global audience of billions.
"It is a fast-paced and high energy game, one that requires a huge tactical awareness but also one that rewards strong one-on-one play, allowing players to express themselves on offence and defence.
"3X3 has been played for years. Wherever there is a half-court, pick-up games have been played.
"You only need to stop and watch the action in a local park or community court to see the joy that players get from this style of the game.
"Its presence at the Olympics and the introduction of the Schick 3X3 Cup allows those same players to aspire to play at the very pinnacle, to take those natural skills and love of basketball into a high-performance environment."
NBL general manager Justin Nelson is hopeful that once New Zealand's borders open, overseas-based 3X3 sides will be able to take part.
"We have left the door open for a tenth invitational team in both the men's and women's competitions each year and have a few ideas on the table," he says.
"Once New Zealand's borders are open again we have a firm desire to bring international teams in to take on our best, hopefully starting with the Philippines."
NBL Schick 3X3 Cup, September 3-5:
Men: Auckland Huskies, Nelson Giants, Canterbury Rams, Otago Nuggets, Taranaki Airs, Southland Sharks, Manawatu Jets, Franklin Bulls, Hawke’s Bay Hawks, Invitational Team.
Women: Harbour Breeze, Otago Gold Rush, Auckland Dream, Taranaki Thunder, Northland Phoenix, Canterbury Wildcats, Bay of Plenty Blaze, Waikato Wizards, Capital Swish, Invitational Team.