Team England's Men and Women went into the 3x3 competition at the Commonwealth Games as one of, if not the favourites within their pools. That in its own right should tell you everything you need to know about how far British Basketball has come.
The men's combination of Orlan Jackman, Jamell Anderson, Kayne Henry and Myles Hesson had mismatches in all their games in their favour. Their athleticism on both offence and defence was unmatched and combined with their touch from distance and the mid-range, they had all the ingredients they needed to take home the Gold medal for the first time in history.
The women didn't come out on top, but displayed why they amongst the favourites to win the competition, with the gold medal coming down to 2.6 seconds and a game-winning layup by a very talented Canadian side. Besides that game, they were able to comfortably roll through the competition. Shanice Beckford-Norton's quickness and tenacity was often met with nothing she couldn't handle. Hannah Jump's shooting ability gave them the separation they needed in crucial moments during the tournament, as did that of Chantelle Handy along with her veteran leadership. Cheredine Green's presence in the paint was felt throughout and to this day, probably still felt by the opponents. Their efforts earned them a silver medal, another historic feat in English basketball history.
Let's not forget the run of Team England's wheelchair basketball teams, with bronze medals for both the men and women, the first ever for England's Wheelchair basketball history. Another more than impressive run to get on the podium for the first time.
Over the years, conversations about a lack of funding and British basketball being dead have often been the two spark plugs to any talk in regards to basketball in this country, generally from casual fans or those who haven't had a real chance to get involved in the community the sport has created in this country. However, campaigns like this from Team England, ones that are unlike anything we've heard so far in the sport, go a long way in nullifying those two factors which have plagued the game for many years.
It's an achievement that can't be overlooked, both by those who are in charge of funding and those who believe that the game has nothing left here. It's not just for the fact that medals were won, but also for the fact that for every game, the Birmingham faithful packed out that arena to watch a sport that for many, was either their first time or was one of few times they've experienced it.
For us as HOOPERS, 3x3 has become something that has kept British Basketball culture very much alive, so it's almost no surprise that Team England has had such a successful campaign this year. Events such as BallOut 3x3, the RedBull 3x3 tournament and the GG3x3 continue to showcase some of the best talent the UK has to offer, with each of them bringing in huge crowds in different parts of London and the United Kingdom, dominating the summer time with excitement and anticipation leading up to them. With the success of the Commonwealth games it wouldn't be a surprise to see involvement in these events start to grow even more and it wouldn't be a shock if another set of medals came from those who have competed in those events.
Taking those things into account, plus the abundance of reactions and positive feedback from the mainstream media, it's clear to see that British Basketball is very much alive and if there's ever a time to get involved with it, it's now.
Hesson’s last-gasp shot edges England past Australia in 3x3 basketball final— Basketball England 🥇🥈 (@bballengland) August 2, 2022