NBA, ESPN working to televise H-O-R-S-E competition

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images /

According to a report, the NBA is working with ESPN to finalize the details on possibly televising a H-O-R-S-E competition.

If you’ve ever wondered what a H-O-R-S-E competition returning to NBA All-Star weekend would look like, the league may soon be giving you a trial run soon.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is working with ESPN to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition “involving several high-profile players.”

Woj says the players would shoot in isolation (most likely in home gyms) and match shots against their competitors. The details are still being finalized.

For those unfamiliar, H-O-R-S-E is a shooting game between two or more players where the first player attempts a shot. If he/she makes that shot, the second player must make the exact same shot. If the second player makes the shot, he/she avoids getting a letter. If the second player misses, he/she gets an “H.” Once a player has gotten five letters to spell out “horse,” that player is eliminated.

If there are more than two players, and the second player makes the same shot as the first, the third player must attempt the same shot, and so on and so forth depending on how many players are involved. If the second player misses the shot the first player made, the third player then gets to attempt a shot of his/her own choosing. Likewise, if the first player misses his/her own shot, the second player gets to attempt whatever shot he/she likes for the next player to try and match, and so on and so forth.

More than likely, any H-O-R-S-E tournament would only feature one-on-one matchups, not only because it’d be harder to coordinate a contest between multiple players on the same video call, but also because the league would be smart to squeeze every ounce of showmanship and intrigue out of this kind of event.

One-on-one matchups, especially if they involve some of the game’s most prominent names, make the most sense. It’s easier to organize a tournament that way, much like the NBA’s current players-only NBA 2K tournament.

Call it gimmicky or a desperate attempt at revenue if you must, but with sports shut down and most people quarantined, we’ll take whatever basketball we can get our hands on. Patrick Beverley proved on Friday that NBA personalities shining through can make any event worth tuning in for, and many have wondered what a H-O-R-S-E contest would look like if it returned to All-Star Saturday alongside the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Contest.

The league gave it a two-run trial run back in 2009 and 2010 before cancelling the event, with Kevin Durant winning both times.

This is something the NBA could play around with and consider implementing down the road, depending on how well it goes. Including trick shots or even different kinds of dunks is definitely one way to spice things up. Stay tuned for more details as this story develops.

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