The NBA’s upcoming attempt at giving basketball fans some sort of live event is set in stone. Reports from earlier in the week indicated that the league would partner up with ESPN to put on a live HORSE tournament of some sort, and on Wednesday, some of the preliminary names of competitors became public.
Now, not only do we know that the event is on, we know what the field will look like and when the competition will occur. It was announced on Thursday morning that we’ll see the following four matchups, which include current and former NBA and WNBA players:
Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley
Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley
The games will occur remotely, with players getting shots up at their homes. The first round of matchups will play out on April 12 from 7-9 p.m. EST, with the semifinals and finals occurring on April 16 from 9-11 p.m. EST. Here are the rules for this competition, via the NBA:
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.
All of this is pretty standard, namely the “you have to call a bank or a swish” one, but we would have liked to see Pierce have to figure out a response to LaVine throwing down some gravity-defying dunks. Then again, this did sort itself out on Twitter in a conversation between Young and LaVine, so it’s not a huge surprise this rule got implemented:
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) April 8, 2020
At the very least, just getting some kind of live basketball is going to be a joy. Our early guess is to go with Young because of his ability to hit shots from his neighbors’ driveway, but this field is loaded, and any of the eight have a shot at winning the whole thing.