Olympics-Basketball 3x3-At first medal matches, DJ Lass is there to pump up the volume

·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: Basketball 3x3 - Women - Quarterfinal - Japan v France

By Rocky Swift

TOKYO (Reuters) - When a 3x3 basketball https://fiba3x3.com match goes into sudden death overtime, the haunting beat of Kanye West's "Power" is just the right track to heighten the intensity on the court.

At other points in the game, it might be Fat Joe's urban anthem "Lean Back" that hits the right vibe, or a throwback guitar lick from surf rock. Because when 3x3 basketball made its Olympic debut in Tokyo, it came with a soundtrack. And the man behind the turntable is Frenchman Lassana Karamoko, AKA DJ Lass.

The high-speed, half-court version of basketball is played to constant accompaniment of thumping hip-hop that call back to the sport's streetball origins. DJ Lass crafts the sounds that match the players, teams, and critical moments of the game.

"I usually start the game at a slower pace, and it's actually the players that dictate the pace," DJ Lass said during a lull between matches on Tuesday. "I just adjust to the intensity on the court."

Although the pandemic has meant that the 3x3 arena at the Aomi Urban Sports Park has been mostly empty of spectators, he's kept up the music as a service to the players and the culture of the fledgling event at the world's biggest sporting spectacle.

"Except for the streets, many people have never seen the real competition of 3x3," he said. "And it's good for the players to have music all the time."

DJ Lass has been a fixture of 3x3 over the past four years, hosting events throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He'll typically have 600 tracks lined up, but copyright clearances at the Olympics meant he had to trim that by about half.

Along with skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing, 3x3 has been added to these Games in an effort to broaden the spectacle's youth appeal. With a 12-second shot clock and game time of just 10 minutes, 3x3 is tailor-made for social media sharing.

In addition to the cool factor, the music has a practical effect. In public exhibitions, people gravitate toward the tunes and stay to watch the game. But the Games are the biggest stage yet for 3x3, which has run events on a global circuit for about 10 years.

DJ Lass, 37, takes requests from the players and the teams. The Japan women's team, for example, like anime-based songs, and their high-speed style of play requires similarly dynamic music.

On Wednesday, the 3x3 event moves into its semi-finals and its first-ever Olympic medal matches. The Serbian https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/3x3-basketball-serbias-mr-bulletproof-adds-olympian-accolades-2021-07-24 men are highly favoured to take gold, while Team USA women's squad, packed with WNBA talent, will be hard to beat.

But the tournament has already seen numerous upsets. And if gold medal stakes weren't exciting enough, DJ Lass will be there to amp up the drama.

"I put on songs that have a higher BPM (beats per minute) in the last seconds of the game to create even more anxiety and emotions from the fans," he said.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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