Ever wonder what it would look like if NBA players competed against each other in H-O-R-S-E? Well, today might be your lucky day. The NBA and ESPN are reportedly organizing a H-O-R-S-E tournament between some of the league’s brightest stars. Zion Williamson and Russell Westbrook are said to be involved, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
Players would shoot by themselves in personal gyms and play against another star via video chat. The details of the tournament are still being ironed out, but it would be televised on ESPN. Since we can’t watch NBA basketball for a while, this will have to hold us over until then.
How would a virtual game of H-O-R-S-E between NBA stars work?
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that “players would shoot in isolation – presumably in home gyms – and match shots against competitors.” None of the games could be decided in person.
This limits the number of players who could conceivably compete in the H-O-R-S-E tournament. Not every NBA player owns a home gym or even has access to one. Those who are stuck at home with no hoop would be out of the running immediately.
Among that group is reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. “The Greek Freak” doesn’t even own a basketball hoop.
The field would likely be limited to players with home gyms to ensure the safety of all players involved. They would connect with their competitor via video chat and play the timeless game of H-O-R-S-E everyone knows and loves.
Which players are involved with Williamson and Westbrook?
No NBA players have announced their intention to play in the tournament just yet, but the league does have a few names in mind. Zion Williamson and Russell Westbrook were some of the first that popped up in rumors.
Andrew Marchand reported the list of players possibly involved also includes Chris Paul and Donovan Mitchell, and retired NBA legend Dwayne Wade is also interested.
Paul might be the favorite of that bunch. Westbrook and Williamson struggle with deeper jump shots and Wade isn’t as fresh as the current NBA players. Mitchell would give Paul the best competition.
On the other hand, Williamson could run away with the tournament if dunking is allowed. One windmill through the legs dunk by the rookie phenom would be a guaranteed letter for the rest of the field.
The NBA used to have a H-O-R-S-E competition at All-Star weekend
This wouldn’t be the first time the NBA experimented with the game of H-O-R-S-E. In 2009 and 2010 the game was part of All-Star weekend, but it only lasted two seasons. Kevin Durant won the competition both years.
The competition featured three players, with the first picking a shot of their choosing. If they made it, the other two would have to make the same shot to avoid a letter. The first player to get five letters and spell out H-O-R-S-E was out, and the last one standing was declared the winner.
We could see a similar format on ESPN, but it would feature more players and harder shots. It might not be ideal, but it beats not having basketball for a whole summer.