NBA Toying with the idea of a H-O-R-S-E tournament between players in Isolation

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

I know what you’re all thinking, life without sports is rough. Trust me, we feel the same way. Normally around this time every year, we as fans are spoiled with the beautiful combination of the Final Four in college basketball, the end of the NBA and NHL seasons leading into the playoffs, and of course, the beginning of Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, the NFL offseason has dominated storylines in recent weeks, with little to no news in the other major three sports that aren’t Coronavirus related.

The NBA has done its part to stay connected with the fans. They recently created a players-only 2k tournament involving 16 NBA players that have aired on ESPN every night since Friday of last week. While the tournament has done a great job of providing fans with a glimpse of what these athletes’ personalities are like in a more casual setting, I think it’s safe to say watching two grown men play video games isn’t the best viewing experience in the world. Not to mention, almost every game that took place in the first round was a blowout, including a 52 point blowout win from Andre Drummond against Demarcus Cousins and a huge upset in Kevin Durant’s “return” to basketball at the hands of Derrick Smith Jr.

In yet another effort to keep their loyal fan-base engaged, the NBA has begun bouncing around the idea of an H-O-R-S-E tournament between players in isolation at their homes that would be televised on ESPN.

Woj Confirms Details are Still Being Finalized

There are still several steps that need to be completed before we can bring this live shot-making competition to TV. On Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted “Players would shoot in isolation — presumably in home gyms — and match shots against competitors. Details are still being finalized.” For those who don’t know how to play H-O-R-S-E, it is a game where 2 players each attempt shots from different areas on the court. If one of the players makes their shot, the other player has a chance to match it. If the player misses a shot that the other player made, they get a letter. The goal is to get the opponent to spell out H-O-R-S-E by missing 5 shots that the other person made.

This wouldn’t be the first game of H-O-R-S-E the NBA has televised. In 1977, they aired a pre-taped segment during halftime of one of the games that featured 32 players. Three notable names in that list of 32 players that competed were Hall of Famers Rick Barry, Pete Maravich, and George Gervin.

While it has been reported but not confirmed by Andrew Marchand that there are several names out there being linked to the idea, including Zion Williamson and Russell Westbrook, I think the following players (this is assuming they have some type of access to a hoop at their home) would make for excellent content in a game of H-O-R-S-E:

  • Steph Curry
  • Luka Doncic
  • Trae Young
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Alex Caruso
  • Lou Williams
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Pascal Siakam
  • Vince Carter

There have also been several players who are currently retired that could possibly participate, with Paul Pierce tweeting at Woj’s tweet “I’m in” and Dwyane Wade being mentioned as a potential participant in Andrew Marchand’s unofficial report.

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