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All we learned from FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023

VIENNA (Austria) - The FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023 delivered the showpiece event of the year in style on May 30-June 4. 

The non-stop entertainment rocked the Rathausplatz, in the heart of Austria's historical capital, with packed crowds enjoying watching the best in the business put on a show.

Before we resume the pro circuit, let's reflect on this epic event and what we learned from the eighth edition of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup - surely the greatest ever in its history. 

Serbia remain the standard 

Six gold medals from eight World Cups - Serbia's spectacular men's team undisputedly own 3x3. 

They defended their crown with the same awesome foursome - Dejan Majstorovic, Strahinja Stojacic and Marko Brankovic from No.1 World Tour team Ub Huishan NE and big fella Mihailo Vasic from Liman. 

Serbia were undefeated but defending their crown wasn't easy as they navigated a tough knockout stage. 

They overcame hosts Austria and old rival Latvia in thrillers before beating hoops power USA in a rematch of the classic FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2016 final

This dream final might have even surpassed that 2016 all-timer - widely considered the greatest 3x3 game of all time - and once again Serbia were too good.

No one is better in the clutch as they ran over the top of USA to win another gold medal. Most of all they have the most heart and can never be written off as they showed when down 19-15 to the Americans. 

After winning his fifth title, Dejan Majstorovic proved why he's 3x3's 'Maestro' to become the most decorated player in World Cup history. 

These Serbs - who have fan boys all over the world including NBA superstar Nikola Jokic - just keep raising the standard and no one right now can knock them off. 

They aren't just the best 3x3 nation, Serbia are one of the most dominant sports teams in the world. 

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Stojacic is No.1 for good reason

The bigger the stage, the better Strahinja Stojacic. 'Doctor Strange' has been the best player for some time, but he's somehow gone up a level. 

He's on an absolute tear - possibly in the midst of the greatest stretch ever seen in 3x3.

The 30-year-old has started 2023 on a heater with back-to-back World Tour MVPs before winning the top honor at the World Cup after an insane player value of 68.5 - almost 10 more than second best Jimmer Fredette. 

Stojacic was at his absolute best in the semi-finals against Latvia with 12 points to dominate rival Karlis Lasmanis and prove he's the best player alive. 

There appears to be no stopping Stojacic, who is on course to have the greatest individual season in 3x3 history. 

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Jimmer Mania has swept into 3x3

His World Tour debut might have been delayed, but Jimmer Fredette's World Cup breakout party was spectacular as he nearly led USA back to the top. 

After hitting bucket after bucket that not even the Serb superheroes could stop, the former NBA player and college  phenom almost inspired USA to the gold medal. 

He'll have nightmares of his attempted two-point game-winner which somehow rimmed out - seriously the 3x3 gods must be from Serbia!

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But Fredette lived up to the hype to finish on the Team of the Tournament after draining a tournament high 59 points. 

He has also brought his legion of fans to the half-court to ensure 'Jimmer Mania' has now swept into 3x3.

And he's just getting started in the game he's now committed to with Fredette set to finally make his World Tour debut very soon. 

USA are back! 

It was a tough World Cup 2022 for USA, who failed to medal in both men's and women's categories. They were oh so close in Vienna to being the first nation in World Cup history to win the men's and women's golds at the same event. 

Their men's team, who double as Miami on the World Tour, are rejuvenated after a tough period since USA won gold at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019

While USA women's team went one better to win their first crown since 2014. USA started sluggishly after a first up loss to last year's silver medalist Canada before they clicked into gear culminating in beating defending champs France in a tense final.

Having gone through the play-in, USA found form at the right time with MVP Cameron Brink and superstar Hailey van Lith walking buckets throughout. It was particularly sweet for Burdick, an OG who was part of USA's triumph in 2014. 

It doesn't matter the form of hoops, USA continue to win titles as they strive to dominate the half-court like they do on the hardwood. 

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Australia have arrived

There was a lot of intrigue over how Australia would go after they absolutely dominated the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2023

They brought back the same players who won gold in Singapore and the 'Gangurrus' - the Australian indigenous name for Kangaroo - proved they belong among the world's best. 

With red-hot Marena Whittle more cash than the box office of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Australia went toe-to-toe with defending champs France in a tight semi-final. 

Playing their first World Cup since 2019, Australia couldn't quite match the experienced France in the clutch but they continued to play with trademark Aussie spirit in a crazy bronze medal game against Asian rival China. 

They looked down and out  trailing 20-17 against a determined three-player China, who showed remarkable passion playing without a sub. Whittle hit a two to close the gap and then she missed a chance at the game winner when her long bomb grazed the rim, but the shot clock didn't reset. 

Play continued and she did not miss another chance from deep, but the officials had to review the play amid the confusion.

Everyone waited with hearts in their mouths before it was determined that the basket counted to trigger wild scenes of celebrations for Australia. 

It was their first medal - men's or women's - since winning bronze in the first edition in 2012 as the 'Gangurrus' confirmed their standing as a global powerhouse. 

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Grabo is out of this world

Legendary Polish dunker Piotr 'Grabo' Grabowski proved why he's one of the best to ever do it after claiming an absolutely lit dunk contest.

The 6 foot (1.83m) high-flyer beat in-form Joel Henry from Great Britain, who took home silver, and compatriot Rafal 'Lipek' - another dunking great who won bronze. 

Just grab some popcorn and watch these highlights. 

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Vienna is an absolutely incredible 3x3 destination

3x3 cemented itself as the best atmosphere in sports after a rollicking six days where there was more action than in Schwarzenegger's new show FUBAR

The stands were constantly packed to capacity in a truly historical area and the passionate fans were hollering like there were at Taylor Swift's Eras Tour. 

We can't wait to return to what is now an iconic 3x3 venue. But for now, auf wiedersehen! 

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