Fact Check

3-on-3 Basketball at the 2016 Olympics?

Rumor: The IOC has announced that 3-on-3 basketball will be an official sport at the 2016 Olympics.

Published Jan 16, 2015


Claim:   The IOC has announced 3-on-3 basketball will be an official sport at the 2016 Olympics.


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, January 2015]


Origins:   On 14 January 2015, the satirical Australian web site Betoota Advocate published a fake news article claiming 3-on-3 basketball would be an officially sanctioned sport at the 2016 Summer Olympics:

After decades of pressure and debate, as well as an official application submitted by the International Basketball Federation, the IOC have this week confirmed that a three-men-a-side basketball variant will be included as a part of the official event program for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The final decision was made quietly during an annual committee meeting late last month.

After nearly a decade of exploring different options, the International Olympic Committees executive board have confirmed that they will to go ahead with the proposal despite the fact that the request would result in a higher number of athletes and increased number of medals, thereby adding to the cost and complexity of the Games.

While the Betoota Advocate's article was shared only a few hundred times on social media, the rumor about 3-on-3 basketball's becoming an official Olympic sport received a viral push when Deadspin reported the hoax as real news:

The IOC has officially added a new half-court 3-on-3 basketball event to the competitions to be held in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This rules.

Right away, you'll have to throw a big bucket of calm down on your head because, as the IOC put it in a 2012 letter discussing its interest in 3-on-3, a large part of the impetus is to focus more on the amateurism of sports and get the event away from being "somewhat of an exhibition for the American NBA."

When reporter Kyle Wagner realized his mistake, he added an update at the top of the article stating he had been duped by a satire site:

Nah, this isn't happening. I wrote a post based on a satire website, which is just about the dumbest way to f*ck up. Sorry. F*ck me. Woulda been cool though.

Last updated:   16 January 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.