3-Pointers – Highest-value shot in basketball
3-Pointers – Highest-value shot in basketball

They are called 'Threes', 'Three-Point Shots' and '3-Pointers' and are an integral and entertaining feature of basketball worldwide. These shots are sometimes considered to be a 'deadly weapon' and a 'game-changer' when sharp-shooters on a team using these long-range shots are on target. But that 'shot from downtown' was never always part of this entertaining game, neither here nor elsewhere. In fact, this high-value shot was only officially introduced into local basketball in the mid-1980s.

Have you ever scored one of those 'big-threes', although the distance behind the arc from which you attempted that shot did not really matter as we are all awarded 3 points for a successful attempt.

But how much do we know about the 3-Pointer? Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia with a few very minor modifications in the distance symbols, outlining the development of and experimentation with the 3-Point line in basketball in the USA and at the international (FIBA) level.

1945: The three-point rule was first tested at the collegiate level in a 1945 NCAA game in the United States, between Columbia University Lions and Fordham University Rams but the rule would not be adopted on a permanent basis until much later.

1961: At the direction of Abe Saperstein, the American Basketball League (ABA) did so in 1961, becoming the first basketball league to adopt the rule. Its 3-point lines were each a radius of 25 ft (7.62 meters) from the baskets, except along the sides.

1963: The Eastern Professional Basketball League followed in its 1963–64 season.

1967: The three-point shot later became popularized by the ABA after its introduction in the 1967–68 season. Then commissioner of the ABA George Mikan stated the three-pointer "would give the smaller player a chance to score and open up the defence to make the game more enjoyable for the fans." During the 1970s, the ABA used the three-point shot, along with the slam dunk, as a marketing tool to compete with the National Basketball Association (NBA).

1979: In the 1979-80 season, the NBA adopted the three-point shot despite the view of many that it was a gimmick. Chris Ford of the Boston Celtics is widely credited with making the first 3-point shot in NBA history on 12th October 1979. Kevin Grevey of the Washington Bullets also made one on the same day.

1984: The sport's international governing body, FIBA, introduced the 3-point line in 1984, at a distance of 6.25 m (20.5 ft). In 2008, FIBA announced that the distance would be increased by 50 cm (19.69 in) to 6.75 m (22 ft 1.75 in), with the change being phased in beginning in October 2010.

1994-1997: During the 1994-95, 1995-96, and 1996-97 seasons in the USA, the NBA attempted to address decreased scoring by shortening the distance of the line from 23ft 9in (22 ft at the corners) to a uniform 22ft (6.7 m) around the basket.

1997 (NBA Season): From the 1997–98 season on, the NBA reverted the line to its original distance of 23ft 9in (22 ft at the corners). Ray Allen of Milwaukee Bucks set an NBA record with 269 made three-pointers in the 2005–06 season. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) then broke Allen's record during the 2012-13 season with 272 long ones, and again during the 2014-2015 season with 286 from downtown.

2012: In December 2012, the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) announced that they would be using FIBA's distance, as of the 2013 season.

PEEKING AT THE LOCAL SCENE: In the 5th OECS Champion-of-Champions Basketball Tournament hosted by Dominica in 1991, a total of 107 Three-Pointers were made among the seven participating teams. St. Kitts' Hitters who placed 3rd in the tournament overall led, netting 39 big ones in their six matches; their game-best was 10. Dominica's Cardinals (overall winner) and Killer Bees sank 10 and 11 Threes respectively.

In our DABA League, Three-Point Shoot-outs are often included in Season Openers, much to the delight of patrons.

But Lions in 1992 chalked up a hefty 34 Threes in three matches!

More recently, in the 2013 national league Goodwill Starz netted 12 in a Division I match, while Derrison Anthony of Eagles swished 7 long ones in a Premier Division encounter. The top 4 Three-Point shooting teams in the 2013 Regular Leagues were Eagles – 40 (Premier), Goodwill Starz – 38 (Division I), Blazers - 36 (Premier) and Tigers – 35 (Premier).

Come the 2015 Regular League, a total of 477 Three-Pointers were scored among the league's three Divisions and were distributed as follows: Premier Division – 234, Division I – 235 and Women's Division – 8. Overall, Super Eagles (Premier) led with 46 followed by Thundererz (Division I) with 36. Derrison Anthony (Eagles) and Ian Brumant (Tigers, Premier) had the highest individual aggregates of 25 each.

COMMENTS: Information sourced from Wikipedia and DABA Tournament and Season Reports.