February 03, 2009
TNT today announced the addition of the popular driveway game H-O-R-S-E to its NBA All-Star 2009 programming lineup. The H-O-R-S-E game will air live during TNT's two-hour Inside the NBA program at 5 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 14.
According to TNT's press release, the game will take place on a 45' X 50' court alongside the network's new NBA on TNT rig (see above). The fancy rig set-up can rise up to 14 feet off the ground and the bleachers can seat up to 117 guests. Calling the action from the rig will be Ernie Johnson, along with analysts Kenny Smith and Chris Webber. They will be dressed in identical gray suits.
The game will use a traditional format in which three NBA players will establish the playing order. Once a shot is made, the next player in the predetermined order will attempt the same shot. If that player misses, he is assign— look, if you don't know how to play H-O-R-S-E, I doubt you're reading this blog. All you really need to know is that there is no dunking allowed and ballers have just 24 seconds to create/mimic shots.
As you might recall, the D-League actually test-drove H-O-R-S-E during last year's All-Star festivities in New Orleans. I was fortunate enough to catch it in person and here's what I said at the time:
Morris Almond didn't win the D-League's inaugural H-O-R-S-E competition, but he sure made things interesting. In the first round, Idaho center Lance Allred faced off against Fort Wayne’s Jeremy Richardson, and the craziest shot they took was probably a 15-footer with their legs crossed. Ugh. It was a painful start. Thankfully, though, Almond was up next, firing up shots from the floor, behind the backboard, eyes closed ... you know, like the game should be played. So, could it work on the NBA's big stage? Without a doubt. Throw a mic on guys like Garnett, Nash and 'Sheed, and watch the hilarity ensue. It's no worse than the Shooting Stars or Skills Challenge, that's for sure.
I'll stand by that review, especially the Skills Challenge jab — just have them race already, Stern! But, yeah, as long as the NBA lands some fairly personable stars, fans are going to eat this event up.