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Griffin Represents Nuggets, Denver at 3x3 World Tour Final
Posted: Oct 08, 2014
By Adam Beard
Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried may not be the only member of the organization to win a gold medal in 2014.
Derek Griffin, the 30-year old regional director of youth basketball for the Nuggets, is representing the city of Denver in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in Sendai, Japan, on Oct. 11 and 12. The competition, which was introduced in 2012, is the highest level for 3x3 basketball in the world and is a discipline that is being considered for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.
A basketball lifer, Griffin played in high school, college and semiprofessionally for the Grand Rapids Flight before being hired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment in 2010. Griffin also played 3x3 basketball growing up and mentioned that the game used to be a resemblance of a scene from “The Longest Yard.”
“The scene with Adam Sandler and Michael Irvin, where (Irvin) is just backing him down, backing him down, backing him down,” Griffin said, “and then he ends with an elbow to the face and a layup. That’s the old style of three-on-three, where the biggest and the strongest guys are going to win the battle.”
The new style is simple under FIBA rules: a half-court game with three players (plus one substitute) on each team, lasting 10 minutes or first team to 21 points by ones and twos. There are referees that call fouls and a 12-second shot clock. The purpose of the FIBA rules is to allow the individual skills to outplay the size of the players, which helped draw Griffin in.
“I have to give credit to a man by the name of Travis Johnson, the director of 3x3 for USA Basketball,” Griffin said.
"His passion and enthusiasm for the game was contagious.”
Griffin’s Denver team, which is the only U.S. team to compete in this year’s World Tour Final, also features Corey Campbell, Marcus King-Stockton and Brendan Puckett. Team Denver earned its spot in the World Tour Final by finishing in second place at the Chicago Masters, one of six Masters tournaments that culminate with making it to the world stage.
Similar to Faried representing the Nuggets on the world stage during the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Griffin is doing the same this weekend, and he couldn’t be more proud.
“Going to Japan having the Nuggets’ name to me,” Griffin said.
“… I am going to respect them the most that I can and honor them because they’ve done the same for me. I feel very blessed to be in this position.”
This isn’t the first time, however, that Griffin is representing both the city of Denver and the Nuggets in the World Tour. He has made it to all three editions of the tournament (2012, 2013 and 2014).
In this edition, Griffin and his Denver squad inherited what is supposed to be a tough pool (Pool A) with a young talented Brazilian team from Santos and Novi Sad of Serbia, the favorite to win it all. The top two from the pool will advance to the quarterfinals in which it will be single elimination from that point on.
“We play the first-ranked team in the world during pool play,” Griffin said. “Every team there is going to be really good, but we’ll be ready,” Griffin said.
Speaking of rankings, Griffin is the fifth-ranked player in the U.S., and his teammates Campbell, King-Stockton and Puckett are fourth, sixth and 25th respectively. They are relatively low on the world ranks because they only played four events in the last 12 months while the ranking is calculated on the best six results.
Griffin is confident in his team no matter what the rankings say, though, mentioning that Team Denver is playing its best basketball this year.
“We’ll never say we expect to get second place,” Griffin said. “We expect to come back with the trophy.”
For Griffin and 3x3 basketball advocates, the World Tour Final is more than just about who wins each competition. Griffin has been an ambassador of the game and wants it to grow to a point where it is a dominant discipline worldwide.
“Everybody doesn’t really understand the greatness or how fun this game is until they play it,” Griffin said. “So we have to keep playing it and teaching it. I think this would be great in the Olympics, and it has the potential to be there. I hope it happens.”
One day, Nuggets’ fans might see their favorite players represent the Nuggets playing 3x3 basketball in the Olympics. For now, however, the focus is on Griffin representing the organization and city this weekend in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in Japan.
Follow Team Denver this weekend on www.3x3worldtour.com with live updates on www.twitter.com/3x3planet and all games live on here.
As opposed to Grant Hughes, you actually sound like you know what your talking about. Thanks. I'm glad Bleacher Report has writers like you.
Thanks for the shoutout in your Kyrie-Bron article.
Will someone please write about the difference between Tim Duncan and Karl Malone as the best power forward?
In the article you recently wrote about Bosh, you mentioned that 4 finals in a row hasn't been accomplished since Boston in the 80's. However, The Lakers did it in the 2000's. If you meant Eastern Conference, understandable, but good article nonetheless.
You are really amazing in making articles
Hey want to be my friend
I just wanted to say that your most recent article on the Spurs was just plain horribly disrespectful.
Oh, the Spurs' winning streak was broken. By who? By OKC, another contender. OMG AN EXCUSE TO SAY THAT SPURS ARENT ALL THAT.
Yes, that was basically what that article was all about, and all the articles about San Antonio here are about.
I wonder why you guys even write about a team if all that article has in it is plain directed, obvious hate and joy in seeing them fall...
Media, such a great thing, hey.
This article was one of the worst articles in the history of Bleacher Report.
I hope you are proud.
Please stop sensationalizing articles with their headlines. We just want straight-edge journalism.