To help pass the time during its current hiatus, the NBA will put on a H.O.R.S.E. competition featuring NBA and WNBA players, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Hawks point guard Trae Young will participate in the contest, as will Oklahoma City's Chris Paul and Chicago's Zach LaVine.
The field also includes Utah's Mike Conley, WNBA Hall-of-Famer Tamika Catchings, WNBA All Star Allie Quigley, and NBA Finals MVPs Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups. The eight shooters will be divided into two groups, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals.
"A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails," according to an NBA press release. "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."
Young will take on Billups to kick the tournament off at 7 p.m. this Sunday night on ESPN. The quarterfinals will take place at 9 p.m. the same evening, with the semifinals and finals on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. State Farm will donate more than $200,000 toward COVID-19 relief on behalf of the participants as part of the NBA Together effort.
Due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the NBA has restricted its players from convening in person, so the H.O.R.S.E. competition will take place remotely, with players filming their shots and passing them along to other contestants. Young has an outdoor court at his home in Oklahoma, where he has relocated since the NBA suspended its season. Sources also told Wojnarowski that a few recent NBA alumni will also participate, though his report did not specify which ones.
Young and LaVine are also participating in the NBA 2K Players Tournament, which will pick back up on Thursday night. The two could have faced one another in the quarterfinals, but LaVine lost to Deandre Ayton in the first round after Young defeated Harrison Barnes.
Given his ability to make audacious shots in games, Young may be a good bet to win this tournament, depending on who else participates. The 21-year-old has mastered floaters from all angles and trajectories, and has deep shooting range that extends beyond halfcourt.
The NBA season has been suspended since March 11, and, by all indications, will not resume anytime in the near future. Until it does, the league is finding creative and engaging forms of entertainment and maintaining a connection to the game.
This article has been updated to include additional contestants and scheduling information.