ESPN And NBA Team For ‘H.O.R.S.E’ Competition Featuring Coronavirus Idled Basketball Talents

Bruce Haring

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A world starved for sports and gamblers needing some action are getting an old playground reliable to fill the need for entertainment, competition and stimulation during the pandemic.

The NBA and ESPN are staging a televised H.O.R.S.E shooting competition featuring some top pro talents working out of their own home courts. Slated to go head-to-head are Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, retired WNBA star and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce are among the ballers.

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The H.O.R.S.E game, for the unintiated, requires a series of shots from different court positions. Make the shot and the second player has to make the same shot. If the first player misses, the second can shoot from anywhere. If the second player misses, he gets a letter. The first one to spell out H.O.R.S.E loses, unless someone’s mom calls them for dinner before finishing.

For the ESPN/NBA version, there are no moms. A coin toss will determine the first shooter. As in pool, players must describe each shot attempt before shooting, and describe whether it’s a bank shot or swish. No dunking allowed.  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.

The first game is Sunday, April 12 at 7 PM EST. NBA commentator Mark Jones will be the host. The semifinals and championship rounds will take place on Thursday, April 16, from 7 to 9 PM EST.

State Farm is donating $200,000 to coronavirus relief efforts on behalf of the competition and its participants.

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