It’s been nearly a month since the NBA suspended operations on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the initial suspension of only 30 days, it appears this could go on much longer and possibly lead to the cancellation of the 2019-20 NBA season. In the meantime, the NBA and ESPN have been working on ways to maintain fan involvement.
Other than playing classic games in NBA history, the league also partnered with NBA 2K to put on a players tournament, which is currently still underway. This is just one way the NBA is attempting to get creative to give the fans something to watch while at home.
Their next big idea is to televise a H-O-R-S-E competition with elite-level players all remotely playing from home gyms, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The NBA and ESPN are working on televising a H-O-R-S-E competition involving several high-profile players, sources told ESPN.
The NBA has discussed with all necessary parties the logistics of this, angling to keep players in isolation while filming themselves shooting various shots:
Discussions have been ongoing among the NBA, NBPA and ESPN about a competition among several players in isolation — presumably using home gyms — that would include them competing shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said.
While this isn’t nearly as exciting as an NBA playoff game, it is something. And for a league that’s gone nearly four weeks without any games, this is certainly an improvement.
On top of that, the NBA has to be commended for their attempt to keep fans entertained. The 2K players tournament and a H-O-R-S-E competition are not much to look at, but it’s more than any of the other major sports leagues are doing, and it does give people something sports adjacent to watch.
It would be interesting to see which players end up taking part in this, but if they stick to their hope of high-profile players, it could make for a very fun side event while fans wait for the season to resume.