With major league sports all sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN will fill at least a bit of airtime with the first-ever NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm.
Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and newly elected Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of NBA and WNBA players and legends who will participate in the new competition, with Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce rounding out the field.
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 then describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score (e.g. bank shot, swish) they intend to make before taking a shot. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.
Players 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 then move on to the championship round.
ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday, April 12 at 7/6c, while the semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 pm. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host.
Event sponsor State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts — adding to the more than $74 million that has thus far been contributed by the NBA Family to support coronavirus relief efforts.