For all of you who are desperate for any type of sporting event to watch amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has saved you. It was confirmed on Thursday that ESPN will televise an NBA HORSE tournament. The tournament will consist of eight current and retired NBA and WNBA players. It will be a single-elimination format with the quarterfinals taking place on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET and the semifinals and final taking place on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.
Current NBA players participating in the tournament include Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz, Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls, and Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will be the two former NBA players in the competition. Current WNBA player Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky and former WNBA star and now Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings round out the list of participants. The four quarterfinal matchups are as follows: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups, Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley, Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce, and Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley.
Players will compete against one another from courts at their respective houses. The shooting order for the players will be decided by a coin toss with the older player calling heads or tails. The rules are just like traditional HORSE with players having to describe each shot attempt. Dunking is not allowed and the first player in each game to fail to match five shots loses.
There are some intriguing storylines in this competition with matchups featuring young stars vs. veterans and the NBA vs. the WNBA. It will definitely be interesting to see which players take this tournament very seriously and have some trick shots up their sleeve. While Trae Young and Chris Paul are the co-favorites to win the competition, I wouldn't be surprised if some retired players like Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups show us that they can still play and Tamika Catchings and Allie Quigley surprise some NBA fans who maybe don't know what to expect from WNBA players. Credit has to be given to the NBA for coming up with good ideas to keep fans entertained despite no games being played due to the coronavirus. The NBA already had an "NBA 2K" Players Tournament on ESPN that came to an end on Saturday. With this being another televised isolation event that the NBA has put together, I don't think any sports fans are complaining because at least it is something for us to watch and take our minds off any stress that we may be dealing with in this uncertain time. Other than the entertainment aspect of this tournament, it is also for a good cause as $200,000 will be donated to coronavirus relief efforts. While we all want sports to return sooner rather than later, there are more important issues right now in the world and at least the NBA is coming up with creative ideas to keep us entertained while also practicing proper social distancing.