Plan ahead

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Plan ahead

3,000 competitors make their way to Battersea park this weekend to take part in the Converse 3-on-3 NBA Tour. The National Basketball Association continues to be America's most successful sporting export and makes the first of two stops in Britain at a time when domestic interest continues to rise.

British Basketball has never been in such rude health and continues to expand. With a stable professional league and national TV coverage, the British game can now attract talented players and, more importantly, coaches from the US and other European countries. The game's support base is rooted in thousands of outdoor courts across the nation and tours like this aim to bridge the gap between recreational and professional basketball.

The Converse 3-on-3 Tour is in its fourth season in Europe. Last year the tour travelled to 28 cities in 11 European countries attracting more than 56,000 participants and 400,000 spectators.

In 1996 the tour will reach 24 cities across nine European countries, making this tour the world's largest outdoor three-on-three basketball tournament. Games are played on city streets and parks with up to 100 half-court games being played simultaneously.

In addition to catering for diifferent ages, talents and genders, the Converse NBA 3-on-3 Tour includes contests, exhibitions and interactive features for the whole family.

Taking place on a half-court, two 3-on-3 teams, consisting of three players play up to 16 points (one substitute is also allowed). In addition to the main 3-on-3 tournament, every other kind of basketball hybrid imaginable is available: Slam Dunk contests, threepoint shoot-outs, a Dribblemania obstacle course and a King of the Court (one-on-one) battle.

The Huffy Sports Playground and the NBA Skills Game will be specially aimed at younger boys and girls in an effort to teach basketball in an entertaining environment. Customized basketballs, lower baskets and constant supervision will all be available throughout the weekend.

Individuals unable to compete this weekend will have another opportunity when the tour stops in Manchester on the 14th and 15th of September.

Three of four players can register as one team (one player acts as a substitute). Under 15 years pay pounds 25; over 15 pounds 30. Entry forms for events at Battersea and Manchester can be obtained from the same number.

Telephone 0181-947 1261 for an application form and additional information about the 1996 Converse NBA 3-on-3 Tour. Entries for the Battersea Park event must be received by today while the deadline for Manchester is 11th September.

Details of forthcoming events with information on tickets and venues should be sent to: The Sports Desk, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.