Jan 24, 2020; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve known for a few days that the NBA and ESPN were working on putting together remote games of HORSE, where players would match up against each other from their own home courts.

Yesterday, Woj reported that Chris Paul and Trae Young were going to be involved, along with other current and former NBA and WNBA players:

Today, ESPN confirmed those names and added the complete player list, along with the format of the competition and the official start date: this Sunday, April 12th, at 7 PM on ESPN.

ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced that 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2020 NBA All-Star Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of eight NBA and WNBA players and legends who will participate in the new NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN and streamed via the ESPN App.

Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET, Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will match shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host.

The inclusion of Pierce and Billups means there are some current NBA broadcasters in the field as well. The format should be fairly familiar to anyone who has ever played HORSE before:

Participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals.  The winner from each group will move on to the championship round.  ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

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.

It’s obviously not the same as real basketball, but these are desperate times for NBA fans.

Assuming the production and presentation works out, it could still be a pretty fun way to spend a few hours on Easter Sunday.


About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.