USA Men Fail to Qualify for 3x3 Basketball at Tokyo Olympics After Netherlands Loss

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 30, 2021

The Olympic rings are seen lit outside the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo on May 17, 2021. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA basketball made history Sunday, though not the kind it'll want to repeat.

The United States men missed out on qualifying for the Olympics in 3x3 basketball with a loss to the Netherlands, marking the first time in Olympic history that the U.S. men's or women's teams failed to qualify for a basketball event (h/t Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports). 

FIBA3x3 @FIBA3x3

🇳🇱@3x3NL defeat 🇺🇸 USA and are only ONE win away from the @Tokyo2020 Olympics! #3x3OQT pic.twitter.com/no1XRzg1cK

The U.S. women are still alive and will face Spain in the semifinals.

The Tokyo Olympics will be the first to feature 3x3 basketball, which is only played on half of the court. Baskets in the paint and from the line earn one point, while beyond-the-arc makes are worth two points. The first team to 21 points or the leading team at the end of 10 minutes wins. 

The group struggled to survive a late push by the Netherlands, which hit four two-point attempts in the final three minutes, 38 seconds as the United States fell 21-16. Team USA shot 15-of-25 but was just 1-of-6 from deep.

The United States men defeated Lithuania, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Belgium en route to their quarterfinals bout against the Netherlands. The roster was made up of former collegiate stars in Joey King (Minnesota), Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State), Kareem Maddox (Princeton) and Robbie Hummel (Purdue). 

In the men's bracket, the Netherlands advanced to a semifinals matchup against France, which defeated Brazil in the quarterfinals. On both the men's and women's sides, the semifinals winners earn an Olympic bid, while the losers will compete for the final spot in a third-place game.

Automatic bids were awarded to the top three countries in the FIBA rankings on Nov. 1, 2019, but the United States was ranked fifth behind Serbia, Russia, China and Mongolia at the time, per Zaccardi.

One final Olympic spot will be up for grabs at a qualifying tournament in June, but the United States is not eligible because the tournament is for teams that did not send a basketball squad to the 2012 or 2016 Olympics.