XI'AN - While the Olympics won't be staged in Los Angeles for another 10 years, there is already plenty of excitement and anticipation ahead of those Summer Games.
One reason is because it will be a celebration for basketball and 3x3 in a city that has a rich tradition in the sport.
"You can imagine in a basketball-crazed city like Los Angeles, with some really historic, exciting, quite beautiful street basketball locations that are quite famous as a really incredible backdrop for basketball to really captivate the world," said Casey Wasserman, Chairman of the LA2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"What we hope the Los Angeles (2028) Olympics can do is continue to showcase the best athletes in the world. And we think obviously basketball at the Staples Center, where the (NBA teams) Lakers and Clippers play today, or 3x3 basketball in really iconic locations, with teams from all over the world playing, hopefully that can do wonders for those sports."
"IF YOU LOOK AT THE ECOSYSTEM OF BASKETBALL, IT'S PROBABLY BIGGER THAN FOOTBALL BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE THE OTHER PIECES IN THE PUZZLE. YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE ATTENDANCE. YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE ECONOMIC AND SALARIES FOR PLAYERS. YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE THE FOOTWEAR COMPANIES AND THEIR BUSINESSES BUILT ON THE BACK OF BASKETBALL, (SOMETHING THAT'S) WAY BIGGER THAN FOOTBALL."
Wasserman says that Los Angeles over the next decade will "grow, invest in and showcase sports of all kinds and especially those that have an opportunity to break through."
"3x3 is at the top of that list," he said.
FIBA's urban discipline will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
"My kids when they're in the backyard, they're playing a version of basketball that looks a lot more like 3x3 basketball than 5-on-5 full court. It's a confined space, they play with their friends, they shoot the ball - it's a game that resonates around the world," Wasserman went on.
3x3, he says, is a great fit for the Olympics.
"You're going to have teams from all over the world compete for medals and that's ultimately what sports and the Olympics are all about," he pointed out.
Wasserman says that 3x3 has been a great development for basketball.
"IT'S NOT HARD TO IMAGINE A WORLD IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS WHERE BASKETBALL IS THE DOMINANT GLOBAL SPORT."
"The quality of basketball around the world is getting better," he said. "3x3 basketball is going to benefit a lot from that because people who love the sport, because of the sport's accessibility, now have a truly viable competitive outlet for themselves."
As for basketball's soaring popularity, Wasserman says it's not hard to envision it becoming the number one sport globally in the not too distant future.
"If you were betting on a sport in the world today, you would bet on basketball," he offered. "If you look at the ecosystem of basketball, it's probably bigger than football (soccer) because you have to include the other pieces in the puzzle. You have to include attendance, you have to include economic and salaries for players. You have to include the footwear companies and their businesses built on the back of basketball, (something that's) way bigger than football.
"It is No. 2 and rising quickly in the United States to the NFL, which is on the opposite flight path. Basketball obviously has a massive impact on China.
"If you looked at the world economic power over the next century, you'd probably look west more than east, which means you'd look at the United States west to Asia as opposed to the United States east to Europe."
"It's not hard to imagine a world in the next 10 years where basketball is the dominant global sport."