CHICAGO – The plans which one can have in a given sport can change in an instant, going on different trajectories as the days, months, and years pass.
No one knows this better than Robbie Hummel.
A three-time All-Big Ten first team selection at Purdue, the Valparaiso native overcame two ACL tears in his time in West Lafayette to be drafted in the second round by the Timberwolves in 2012. He went to Spain for a year after that selection, then returned to the states to play 98 games in Minnesota over two seasons from 2013-2015.
He then played in Italy and Russia before returning to America in 2017, where he essentially retired from basketball to become a television analyst for broadcasts.
“I was a little bit over the game, I wasn’t enjoying it like I had in the past when I was in the NBA or even in college or high school,” said Hummel of his mindset then.
But now, things are a little different.
This past weekend, the forward took part in Red Bull’s Chicago 3×3 qualifier – one of 20 around the country that will help to decide the best male and female teams in the United States in the sport. He took the floor with Team Princeton, featuring Kareem Maddox, Craig Moore, and Sean Omara and helped the group to the men’s tournament championship.
“This is has been a real rejuvinating deal for me,” said Hummel of 3×3 basketball.
It came thanks to a former Big Ten opponent, Craig Moore, who played for Northwestern from 2005-2009. When hearing of his desire to stop playing the 5×5 game, he reached out to Hummel to see if he’d consider joining the team.
Hesitant at first, the forward decided to give it a try for a simple reason.
“The reason I went to the tournament in Seoul, it was my first one, was because I’d never been to Asia. I’ve never been to China, I’ve never been to Japan, never been to South Korea, so I figured at the worst it would be just a free trip to Seoul and I’ll see it, and if I don’t like it, I’ll stop,” said Hummel. “That was probably like 50 events ago.”
Slowly the game caught on, and he’s continued with it ever since. He helped the US national 3×3 team capture a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup and was named MVP of that tournament. That year he also helped his team win the Red Bull 3×3 national tournament.
Unfortunately his dream of competing in the Summer Olympic Games ended in qualifying in 2021 as the team was knocked out by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. It hasn’t deterred Hummel from continuing to play the game as he continues to do analysis for college basketball games as well.
While the 32-year old forward hasn’t ruled out a run at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games, he’s just enjoying this new chapter of his career.
“Have fun playing basketball. It’s a sport I loved growing up loving and still love,” said Hummel. “For now it’s to have fun and see where it goes.”
Larry Hawley had more on Hummel’s new chapter in his basketball career on WGN News Now, which you can see in the video above.