The 2023 edition of the Red Bull Half Court basketball tournament is set to kick off on the 1st of April with the first qualifier taking place at the Aga Khan Grounds in Mombasa.
The annual tournament is organized by Red Bull in partnership with the Kenya Basketball Federation and will see qualifiers played in 4 major towns. Qualified teams will square it at the National Finals set to take place on the 27th of May at the USIU grounds. The winning team, both male and female, will represent the country in the World Finals in Belgrade, Serbia – which is considered the home of 3 on 3 basketball.
The 2023 edition will see the addition of an Eldoret qualifier, further growing the sphere of 3-on-3 basketball in the country with the “city of champions” set to host the qualifiers on the 15th of April. Kisumu qualifiers will be played on the 29th of April while the Nairobi qualifiers will be played on the 20th of May.
The format of Kenya’s only nationwide 3 on 3 basketball tournament follows the FIBA rules where teams play for 10 minutes to score 21 points max. In the case of a tie, the team that scores 2 points first wins the game. In each qualifier, the teams will play on a 1st round pool play where the team that accumulates the most scoring points is rewarded with a bonus point and a qualification spot in the knockout stage.
Just like in the 2022 edition, the tournament will lay focus on promoting hip-hop, fashion, and culture with more emphasis on empowering women in sports, especially in the basketball space in Kenya.
In the 2022 World Finals, Kenya was represented by Kenya One and Team Nameless in the men’s category. While Team Elite and UoN Dynamites were the representatives in the women’s category. On the sidelines of the world finals, Kenyan teams had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be trained by world-renowned NBA shooting coach Lethal Shooter and Serbian Dušan Bulut, who is widely considered to be the greatest 3on3 basketball player.
Kenya National Team Player, George Daril Omondi, who participated in the 2022 Red Bull Half Court World Finals commended Red Bull for supporting the tournament and the role that it played in helping him prepare for the Commonwealth games that were held in Birmingham in August 2022.
“Participating in the Red Bull Half Court tournaments not only allowed me to prepare myself for the commonwealth but it also allowed me to work with Dulut and Lethal who are some of the best players in the game”
Melissa Akinyi, Captain of the Women’s National Basketball team, and a player of Team Baddies, who were participating in the tournament reiterated the role that the tournament played in providing exposure and experience to Basketball players.
“It’s a great platform to play at and it creates many opportunities to play outside one’s country, both as an individual and even with your team.”
The 2022 edition of Red Bull Half Court 3 on 3 basketball tournament saw the participation of over 10,000 basketball players from 25 countries. Italy was crowned the winner in the men’s category while Japan was crowned the winner in the Women’s category. The 2023 edition promises an even bigger showpiece with 27 countries expected to participate.