There are times when the NBA seems like a game of H-O-R-S-E, with players tossing up improbable, can-you-top-this shots. Now, that will be the next game we see some of them playing.
The NBA announced that a lineup of current and former players as well as WNBA players will compete in the shooting competition beginning Sunday night and airing on ESPN.
The eight-player field will include current NBA players Zach LaVine of the Bulls, Trae Young of the Hawks, Chris Paul of the Thunder and Mike Conley Jr. of the Jazz. Former players Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups are in, as well as Tamika Catchings, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame this week, and Chicago Sky star Allie Quigley.
The event is sponsored by State Farm, which will donate more than $200,000 in support of coronavirus relief efforts.
The rumors already were backed up on Twitter, as Young tweeted, “Absolutely no dunking.” LaVine responded with a tears of joy emoji, and Young followed it with “Halfcourt shots only.”
Young got part of his wish. Dunking is prohibited in the competition.
The tournament will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday with players matching shots against each other in a single-elimination competition from their respective isolated home courts. The participants are divided into two groups, with Young facing Billups, Catchings taking on Conley, LaVine meeting Pierce and Paul battling Quigley. The winners of the Young-Billups and Catchings-Conley matchups will face off in a semifinal, with the other two first-round winners meeting on the other side of the bracket. The semifinals and championship round will be televised on Thursday.
Players must describe each shot, specifying the type of basket they intend to make, such as a bank shot or swish. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.
Quarterfinal matchups for the NBA HORSE Challenge on Sunday (ESPN, 7-9 p.m.):
Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.
Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley