3×3 Keeps Forman’s Basketball Passion Flowing

His first 3×3 experience was a chance encounter with Luke Schenscher back in Adelaide and now Oscar Forman is fresh back from a family holiday to Italy and the retired 511 NBL game great can’t wait to be part of Sunday’s NBL Pro Hustle in Melbourne.

Forman retired following the 2017/18 NBL season with the Illawarra Hawks that brought an end to his remarkable career that saw him finish with 511 games between the Adelaide 36ers, New Zealand and the Hawks.

Along the way, he won a championship with his hometown Sixers in 2002 and he nailed 904 three-pointers making him 13th all-time in that department in the 40-season history of the NBL.

After 17 seasons, he decided the time was right following this past NBL season that saw him become the 13th player to reach 500 games in league history, but he isn’t ready to hang up his boots completely.

Forman and former NBA, Adelaide 36ers, Perth Wildcats and Townsville Crocodiles centre Luke Schenscher had always wanted to play in the NBL together.

While that didn’t quite eventuate, it was Schenscher who provided Forman with his first taste of the 3×3 format in Adelaide. Now the South Australian products will team together this Sunday at Docklands Studios for Australia’s first ever professional 3×3 event.

Forman couldn’t be looking forward any more to being involved in the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle Series opener even if he has just returned from Italy and will fly in from Sydney to Melbourne on the morning of the event.

“I think it’s still early days for it too. I expect it to be really well run at Docklands Studios and I’ve seen a video of the court, and it looks incredible,” Forman said.

“I’ve already said I’ll take home one of the basketballs so I can get ready for the second tournament in Melbourne. It’s very different playing with a different size basketball and I’m still getting used to shooting with the smaller size.

“But it looks great with the people involved and the players on board will make it very exciting. Hopefully it draws a good crowd and I think more and more people will get involved as the whole concept grows.

“You want to expose people to it because it is that high intensity and it is exciting, interesting and different.”

Forman had never really thought of getting involved in 3×3 basketball until his old mate Schenscher made a passing joke about him playing in a tournament in Adelaide given he was about to fly in.

The 36-year-old took it seriously and played in Adelaide, and loved it to the point where he’s found the 3×3 game occupying more and more of his thinking as he tries to figure new ways to make a success out of it.

“It started with Luke Schenscher to be honest. Schensch and I went to the Centre of Excellence together years ago and we always hoped to play NBL together but it never eventuated,” he said.

“I just happened to be flying back to Adelaide and the night before he mentioned there’d be a 3×3 tournament on. He asked if I wanted to play and he just threw it out as a joke, but I took it serious and ended up going straight to the tournament.

“It was in the early stages of the event, but you could see the positives of how the game is completely different and thought it was very exciting. I felt if they moved it one street over where there was huge crowds, I think even non-basketball people would have been drawn to the non-stop action.

“I finished that tournament and got better with each game, and I kept thinking since then about what we could do better.

“The structure is very different to a normal game but that’s when my interest was piqued, and it held my interest. Being retired from basketball, I don’t want to leave the game totally so this is a way where I can play a bunch of games in one day and like it.”

The other undoubted bonus of getting involved in the 3×3 game is the chance to represent Australia at international tournaments like next week’s FIBA Asia Cup and longer term even the Olympic Games.

If it can work out and if he’s asked, Forman certainly wouldn’t say no to pulling on the green and gold.

“The easy answer is that you would say yes to any opportunities that you can when it comes down to it. For whatever happens further down the track with the Olympic team, it will be interesting who they end up selecting to play for the 3×3 team,” Forman said.

“Could you field a team with Boomers players like Aron Baynes and Ben Simmons and the excitement of that or the guys we have now and how they would fill the 3×3 at the Olympics.

“Then you think who the Americans will bring and it’s pretty exciting. Looking at being involved in any of the cups along the way, if I can get time off work and everything sorted, absolutely I would be interested. I think it’s a very cool thing.”

Now that he has officially retired from the NBL after 17 years in the league, Forman isn’t sure exactly what his immediate future with basketball is. He’s still weighing up whether he needs a break or not, which is where the 3×3 tournaments are perfect in the meantime while he tries to figure it out.

“I’m still in that period where I don’t know. I’m definitely in that period where in one way I’m so used to basketball where I want to step away for a bit. Then there’s the other side where I don’t want to leave it completely,” he said.

“I don’t know what the answer is going forward and if instead of going to the gym to keep fit, I run around the basketball court, I just don’t know. Or if I stay involved in a bigger capacity I’m not sure but right now the 3×3 satisfied that for me.

“Even when I was on holiday I trained with the local Italian Serie B team because I wanted to see what the level was. Whatever language didn’t matter, except when you are trying to communicate on back screens, and it was just interesting to see how it was played there.”

The time since the NBL season finished does actually feel like the next phase of life for Forman simply because he hasn’t allowed himself to switch off and treat it like he would a regular off-season.

“Since the season finished I’ve been full-time in the office with MCR, our major sponsor from last year, and I’ve been there for a year and-a-half. Last off-season I worked there and since I getting back I’ve gone straight into the office,” he said.

“I made sure throughout the season every afternoon, even if it was for only two hours, that I went into the office and I was pretty quickly into work Monday to Friday after the season finished.

“I didn’t want to lose that momentum where if I got into the off-season mentality then it’s tougher to start again. I did go overseas for a few weeks, but I worked up until then and as soon as I got back otherwise you get too used to that lifestyle that financially you can’t sustain.”

Forman and his partner Gaia’s recent holiday to Italy also saw them take their daughter Olivia who is still under a year old. That was an experience he will always treasure.

“The family is going really well and Olivia is going very well. She goes through so many stages and our biggest thing was the long flights, but on the way over she was great and on the way back she was excellent,” Forman said.

“She only took a few days to get used to being over there, but it was just cold. That was the biggest thing for her, she didn’t really enjoy having to put jackets on every time she had to go out.

“That was the thing that seemed to frustrate her the most because she does love going out quickly, but it was a bit more of a process before we could go out. But it was a great experience.”

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