Caguas (PUR) 2016 wins: World Tour Mexico City Masters
One of the best stories of the year. A team put together as a tribute to the late Andy Ortiz, one of the members of the team that won the first edition of the World Tour. If you didn’t cry after Wil Martinez scored the game-winner at the World Tour Mexico City Masters and Jonathan Garcia said there was an angel around the court, "it was him!" then you have no business reading the rest of this piece.
Chicago (USA) – also representing the US at the World Championships 2016 wins: World Tour Americas Masters
The spectacular Chicago team took 3x3 by storm this season. Their 28-0 start became the most discussed topic on the 3x3 scene. And though they lost 3 of their last 4, they still took flight and punched the rim like Amanda Nunes did to Ronda Rousey’s face.
Czech Republic Women 2016 wins: World Championships
Probably the biggest upset of the season. Czech Republic came to the World Championships minus several key players and needed an overtime to win their opener against Cook Islands. After a crushing loss against France (13-21), they went on to win their next 5 and took home the World title. Michaela Uhrova became the first-ever player to become a World Champion in both 5v5 and 3x3 basketball and Sara Krumpholcova capped off an amazing 2016 season where she also was named MVP of the U18 European Championships.
France U18 Women 2016 wins: U18 World Championships, U18 European Championships
There wasn’t a more dominant team in the 3x3 game this year. This team won both the European and the World Championships, without losing a single game. They finished the year 17-0. The future looks bright for France in the women’s category.
Hamamatsu (JPN) 2016 wins: .EXE Premier League (Japanese 3x3 Pro League)
Another giant-killer. This team - featuring 3 players of Indian origins – barely reached the quarter-finals of the Utsunomiya Masters in July. After spending the entire summer competing in and winning the Japanese 3x3 professional league, Hamamatsu turned heads and ankles at the World Tour Final, knocked out the reigning champs Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE) and finished second overall.
Hungary Women 2016 wins: European Championships
For the last 3 years, Dora Medgyessy and her team-mates spent every summer crafting their 3x3 game. All the hard work paid off at the European Championships, where they won gold and produced the most entertaining basketball ever seen in the women’s category.
Ljubljana (SLO) 2016 wins: World Tour Prague Masters, World Tour Abu Dhabi Final
Just when we thought their time had passed, the 2013 World Tour winners came back out of nowhere and won their second title in Abu Dhabi. The Iceman Jasmin Hercegovac led a well-oiled war machine which was the closest thing to the San Antonio Spurs of the 3x3 world.
Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE) - also representing Serbia at the European and World Championships 2016 wins: World Tour Utsunomiya, Debrecen and Beijing Masters, All Stars, World Championships
The first-ever professional 3x3 team had their ups and downs this year and lost their World Tour title. They did finish number one in the team ranking and in season earnings with their 3 World Tour Masters and All Stars titles besides their second World Championships trophy.
Piran (SLO) - also representing Slovenia at the European and World Championships 2016 wins: European Championships
They did not win a single World Tour event this year and lost in the last 8 at the World Tour Final but Gasper Ovnik’s team played out of their mind with the Slovenian national team jersey on. They upset Serbia and won gold at the European Championships and added a bronze medal at the World Championships.
Qatar U18 Men 2016 wins: U18 Asian, U18 World Championships
Qatar dominated the men’s youth category this year like Usain Bolt on the 100m sprint. They followed up an impressive win at the U18 World Championships with another golden performance at the U18 Asian Championships in Malaysia. The craziest part? Their top player Alen Hadzibegovic is still just 17 years old and will be looking to posterize more teenagers in 2017.