You have to give it to the NBA for not just sitting around waiting for the coronavirus pandemic all-clear light. The league has been busy looking for alternate ways to produce new programming while people around the globe are forced to live in their society imposed bubbles.
Their first attempt at “bubble” sports programming came in the form of an NBA 2K Tournament between 16 NBA players. While this hasn’t been a hit for a wide variety of reasons, at least they are continuing to try to innovate.
Next up on the NBA’s growing list of “bubble” sports concepts has the NBA taking us back-to-the-future with the classic game of HORSE of-course.
Look, I’m not talking about that Scripps National Spelling Bee that ESPN televises every year. The worldwide leader in sports is actually going to broadcast a game of HORSE, that’s how desperate ESPN and the NBA are to give us something other than another Harwood Classic from the ’90s.
As Simon Cowell would say “the competition” begins on Sunday, April 12th at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN and will be streamed exclusively via the ESPN App.
Inside The NBA’s Version of HORSE
NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals. The winner from each group will move on to the championship round. ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails. Players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot, such as a bank shot or swish. Dunking is prohibited. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.
Who is Playing Horse?
The HORSE competition includes current NBA players Chris Paul, Trae Young, Zach LaVine and Mike Conley. In addition, the NBA is bringing two former NBA stars out of retirement – Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce. The game will also feature current WNBA star Allie Quigley and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings who will vie to be called the champion of the NBA HORSE Challenge.
Thank You, Adam Silver
Let’s face it, the era we are living in is beyond strange and I thought it was important to thank Adam Silver, the NBA, and the executives at ESPN for giving us some fresh programming from the “bubble.”
As you might imagine I do have a few recommendations heading into Sunday’s competition. First, please get Shaq and Charles Barkley off their couches and somehow involved in this broadcast. I know they work for the competition, but I don’t want to have to hear Brian Windhorst talk about his relationship with LeBron James anymore.
Also, make sure we can hear the players’ audio clearly, this was a huge issue during the first couple rounds of the NBA 2K Tournament. Treat the game like a real NBA broadcast and use real broadcasters. Finally, give us an MTV “Cribs” style tour of the players’ homes. Look after seeing all those Chris Paul State Farm commercials I feel like we all deserve a real glimpse into his garage.