MIAMI — Duncan Robinson is officially a candidate to represent the United States at the Paris Olympics. And he has two chances to get there.
The Miami Heat guard was announced Tuesday as part of the 41-player pool for the Olympic team — the 5-on-5, star-studded, four-time-defending-Olympic-champions version. But he also has been talking with USA Basketball for months about the possibility of playing for gold in Paris as part of the 3×3 squad.
And that most certainly appeals to him as well.
“There’s definitely a chance,” Robinson, one of the NBA’s most prolific 3-point shooters, told The Associated Press. “We’re in the process of trying to figure out how to make it 100%, make it happen. My hope and goal is to go there in some capacity, one team or the other. I would just relish the opportunity to represent my country.”
For the 5-on-5 game, the selection process is simple: USA Basketball will pick 12 players this spring, and voila, that’s the team.
For 3×3, it’s considerably more complicated. Players need ranking points to qualify, and Robinson has yet to play in any official 3×3 event — so he has no points. There are ways to address that between now and the summer, but it’ll take some doing.
Robinson has been to some 3×3 events, including one in November 2022 held at the arena the Heat call home. He watched that day as a fan as the US team led by Jimmer Fredette — who is considered a virtual lock to make the Olympic 3×3 team — beat Puerto Rico to win the FIBA AmeriCup. The tournament was played outside, on the arena’s pavilion, interrupted toward the end by a downpour that soaked the playing surface and gusty wind that made outside shots a challenge.
Robinson was hooked.
“It’s a physical game, it’s a fast-paced game, the conditioning aspect helps me,” said Robinson, a career 40% shooter from 3-point range and the player who needed the fewest games in NBA history to get to 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800 and 900 makes from beyond the arc.
In 3×3, shots from inside the arc are worth one point and shots from beyond the arc are worth two — another aspect that appeals to Robinson. It’s a 10-minute game and ends either when time is up or a team reaches 21 points, whichever comes first.
USA Basketball has teams qualified for the Paris Games in all four Olympic events: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s 3×3 and men’s 3×3.
The US didn’t qualify a men’s 3×3 team when the discipline debuted at the Tokyo Games. The US women won a 3×3 gold in Tokyo, with all four of the players on that team — Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young — coming from the WNBA.
Robinson is in the 5-on-5 mix now, but the 3×3 idea still appeals as well. And if he’s wearing red, white and blue this summer, he’ll be thrilled being on either team. “It’s a cool honor,” Robinson said of being named to the player pool. “I’ve been trying to figure out how I want to think about it. It is a cool honor to be on a list. At the end of the day, it’s just a list. Obviously, the real honor there is getting the opportunity to actually represent your country. But it’s a step toward doing that. We’ll see. We’ll see how it all unfolds.”
Image credits: AP