DEBRECEN (Hungary) – There are many fan bases globally struggling without 3x3 right now, but Debrecen's enthusiastic supporters might arguably be the most hard-hit.
Hungary's second largest city has become a favorite 3x3 destination, including being a regular on the FIBA World Tour for the past three years and also hosted many high-profile national team competitons like the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2015 and last year's Europe Cup and a Women's Series stop.
The events in Debrecen are highlighted by passionate 3x3 fans, who energize the games making them feel like music festivals. The packed bleachers in front of the historical Great Church has become an iconic sight and represents the essence of 3x3 - mixing exuberant fandom with historical treasures.
A special 3x3 community has been created in Debrecen. "The crowd really loved it from the beginning,” the head of the Local Organizing Committee and Board Member of the Hungarian Basketball Federation (MKOSZ) Istvan Becsky said. "I am really proud that since the beginning the bleachers have been full every single year."
We were voted 'Event of the Year' twice already by the people of Debrecen."
3x3 events in Debrecen have become a much-anticipated part of Hungary's sports summer schedule. "I think it is a good show for not just Debrecen but also for the Hungarian fans," Becsky said. “It is always at the end of the summer, when there is no basketball season.
"People are hungry to see basketball and they really wait for those tournaments."
It is a legacy Becsky and his fellow organizers are immensely proud of with Debrecen now being synonymous with 3x3 worldwide. "We wanted to organize a 3x3 festival every year," he said. "Debrecen is a small city compared to the other organizers and we are really proud that we have put Debrecen on the 3x3 map.
"Every year has been really successful from the beginning. The organizing committee works so hard to make everything special."
The highly successful hosting has received acclaim after winning the prestigious City of Debrecen's event of the year award multiple times. "Every year the people of Debrecen can vote (on the award) for what they think was the best event," Becsky said.
"I am really happy that after 2015 we won this award again (last year). The award is always presented by the mayor of Debrecen in a pretty big ceremony."
When 3x3 returns for the hungry local fans, you can bet the events will be better than ever.
"Every year it is getting bigger," Becsky said "We always think of something new, something big."