The NBA is getting creative in its efforts to bring basketball to fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It even helped launch a players-only NBA 2K tournament this weekend.
Now, though, it’s taking it a step further.
The league is working with ESPN to set up a televised horse competition among players, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The NBA and ESPN are working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition involving several high-profile players, sources say. Players would shoot in isolation – presumably in home gyms – and match shots against competitors. Details are still being finalized.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 4, 2020
It’s not clear exactly how it will work or who would take part in such a competition.
The game is a simple one that basketball players at all levels have been playing for decades. Competitors simply take turns attempting any shot from the floor. If a shot is made, the opponent must match that same shot. Each time a player misses a shot after one has been made, he or she picks up a letter. The first player to spell out “horse” loses.
The horse games will have to be played remotely, and would likely take place in players’ home gyms.
That could end up being a problem, though, as not everyone in the league has a home gym available to them. Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t even own a hoop at his house. This could end up significantly restricting who can legitimately compete.
The NBA suspended operations on March 11 amid the coronavirus pandemic, and still has no immediate plans to resume play. President Donald Trump had a conference call with major sports leagues on Saturday and was hopeful that both football would start on time this fall and that everyone else resumes play quickly, however that still seems unlikely as of now. There were more than 1.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the world as of Saturday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 300,000 in the United States alone.
While this competition wouldn’t be as exciting as a traditional game — it’s just horse, after all — it’s still televised basketball.
At this point, that’s much better than nothing.
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