No sportsman’s journey has been a smooth road, and the same can be said for Tokyo 2021 3×3 Basketball hopeful Kevin Madiamba. The now 25-year-old player has been all over the world as he’s climbed the ladder to the pro stage, playing at both his home in Switzerland and abroad in the US.
Madiamba has been a international regular for over five years now, and so it’s no surprise that the talented basketball player has his eyes set on traveling to Tokyo for the now 2021 Olympic games, to participate in the newly recognized 3×3 Basketball.
Basketball fans will be no stranger to 3×3, but in case you’ve not heard of it, here’s a run down of what you can expect: 3×3 basketball is played on just half a court with one basket, making it a much more familiar format for those of us who dabbled on courts when we were younger, and didn’t have full teams when playing casually.
Then, it’s 3 versus 3 a side, with one substitute per team, there’s a 12-second shot-clock and the first team to 21 points (or best after 10 minutes) wins. This makes it just as fast paced as normal basketball, and even more intense. There’s no respite as players move from one end of the court to the other, no one owns any space, so it’s ultra-competitive.
That’s what Madiamba plans to take on at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics to put the cherry on top of his international career. He’s played for some of the top teams in Europe and in the US, and made a strong impression on coach Ivan Rudez when he returned from the US to join the Geneva Lions.
Away from the court, Madiamba spends a lot of time with his family – unsurprising, considering he’s got four sisters!
Madiamba first started basketball at 11, and quickly showed promise. The following year, he left his hometown of Romont in Switzerland for the Fiborg Olympic Academy, and in the under 15s he was approached by numerous agents. “They wanted me to go to France or Italy, but after discussing it with my parents, we decided I would go to the United States.” This decision wasn’t only impacted by the fact that US culture is so basketball-focused, but also because of the opportunities he would have there while he left his family behind. “The schools take care of everything – even accommodation and meals. I literally only had to pay for the plane ticket.”
He arrived in the US (in Los Angeles, California) at 17, typically tall and skinny, as many promising basketball players are at that age. At 6’6 inches now and then, this comes as little surprise. Madiamba remembers that time fondly, though of course he also remembers the pain of missing his family for the first time. “You never avoid getting homesick when you leave your family, but the experience was unlike any other. I was so lucky, and often got to go and play in Las Vegas.”
From there, Madiamba’s talents only grew as he traveled around the US, joining schools and colleges elsewhere. Since returning to Switzerland, he’s only gone from strength to strength as a player, and is more than ready to take on the challenge of playing in the new (to the Olympics) 3×3 basketball competition.
Of course, he’s no stranger to the international stage, having played in South Korea with the U25 international team where they played against Serbia, Turkey, Brazil, and the United States. “It was a great experience, and the Koreans seemed happy to see us.” With such a positive experience playing basketball in Asia under his belt, he’s sure to have the mental fortitude to show his best and is certainly one we’ll be keeping our eye on when the Tokyo Olympics finally takes place.