As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, we might be months away -- at least -- from sports leagues in North America returning to action. With that in mind, the NBA has had to turn to alternative forms of competition. The league putting on a HORSE competition consisting of current and former NBA and WNBA players.between players, and now they are also
The eight participants for the HORSE competition are as follows: Thunder guard Chris Paul, Hawks guard Trae Young, Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, retired NBA players Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billiups, and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings.
The participants will go shot-for-shot in a single elimination contest. Each player will take their shots from their own respective and isolated home gyms. While holding the contest remotely was necessary, it may have prevented some star players from participating -- for example, Giannis Antetokounmpo said recently he at his house.
Here are some more details about the contest, which will begin on Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET, from the NBA:
NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm 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.
And here's a look at the opening round (quarterfinal) matchups:
- Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
- Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.
- Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
- Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley
Kudos to the NBA for continuing to try to bring entertainment to the masses during what is an extremely tough time. Obviously everyone would rather be watching real games right now, but that's simply not possible. Putting together an actual athletic competition between players is the next best thing, and will serve as a solid distraction for the millions of people forced to remain in their homes in order to help curb the spread of the virus. The HORSE competition will also help in that regard, as State Farm plans to donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts.