With Games On Hold, The NBA Is Reportedly Working On A Televised H-O-R-S-E Competition

LeBron James warms up before an NBA game.
Zhong Zhi / Getty Images

NBA games may be gone for quite a while, but the league is reportedly working on something to hold over basketball fans — a televised H-O-R-S-E competition, played remotely by league stars.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported this weekend that the league was working with his network on the game, which the participants would be able to play from home.

“The NBA and ESPN are working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition involving several high-profile players, sources say,” Wojnarowski reported on Twitter. “Players would shoot in isolation – presumably in home gyms – and match shots against competitors. Details are still being finalized.”

The idea has already generated some widespread interest, even among some retired players. As NESN reported, former Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce jumped on the idea, tweeting “I’m in” to respond to Wojnarowski’s tweet announcing the idea.

There is a chance that the televised H-O-R-S-E game could be the only basketball action fans get to see for quite some time. The NBA was the first major American sports league to suspend its season, hastily putting the season on hold back on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. All other leagues followed suit within the course of the next day, and now it is not clear just when the NBA could come back — if it does at all.

A new report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted that the NBA was in talk with the players’ union and that the league “is angling to set up a deal that enables them to shut the season down.” Experts have warned that several more months of social distancing efforts would be needed to stem the spread of the virus, and that some may need to remain in place until a vaccine is created in 12 to 18 months.

As Bleacher Report added, the pessimism within the NBA comes in part after the Chinese Basketball Association’s failed attempt to restart its own season after it was suspended in January. The CBA initially set a goal of resuming its season in April, but those plans now appear in doubt as the Chinese government has put restrictions on team sports, even as the rate of coronavirus spread has slowed from its peak in that country.

Some sports figures have floated different ideas for leagues to resume play, including taking all games to one centralized and remote location in order to compete — which was proposed by the CBA as it aimed to resume its season. As The Inquisitr reported, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio said that might be the only way the NFL could play its 2020 season, though he admitted that it would be logistically very difficult to pull off.