HORSE, NBA2K, And More: How The NBA Community Is Staying Connected

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Clutch points

Mike Conley wins the NBA HORSE Tournament. In addition to the NBA's HORSE Tournament, NBA players have taken to streaming video games on gaming platform Twitch, and many have participated in a $100,000 charity NBA2K tournament, won by Suns Point Guard Devin Booker.

Jake Bednarski, Contributing Writer

As all professional sports seasons were cancelled, players have been seeking alternate ways to keep their respective seasons alive. So far, NASCAR has introduced online racing, the PGA has hosted trickshot competitions, and the NBA has started a remote game of HORSE.

Through ESPN and the NBA, players have been videoconferencing their games, sometimes from across the country. Eight players signed up for the HORSE game, including legend Chauncey Billups, WNBA players Allie Quigley and Tamika Catchings, and NBA players Trae Young, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Zach LaVine, and Mike Conley Jr.

Billups upset Young in the first round with a shot off the backboard from the top of the key, and Catchings was almost swept by Conley Jr by a behind the backboard layup. On the other side of the bracket, LaVine shut out Paul Pierce with a deep three and floating layups, and a tough, back and forth match between Quigley and Paul ended in a missed bank free throw shot by Paul. That match was full of surprises, including a layup made while sitting on the ground, a one legged turn around shot, and many floaters. 

In the second round, Quigley faced LaVine, where a controversial self-alley oop between the legs layup was attempted and ultimately sealed the game for LaVine. No dunking was allowed in the competition, but the dunk contest master had tried to compensate for his dunking ability. LaVine would face Conley Jr. in the finals after the Jazz guard beat Billups H-O-R-S-E to H-O. Conley Jr. employed fancy tactics to secure both of his victories, including granny shots, turn around three pointers, and impressive off hand deep shots. 

This set the stage for LaVine against Conley Jr, who had admitted he had been at the gym for 5 hours. Conley Jr. opened up the competition with a behind the back layup, unable to be matched by LaVine. LaVine was also unable to make a finger spin punch shot, eyes closed free throw, and the finisher, behind the backboard layup. Conley Jr. won the match H-O-R-S-E to H-O, capping off his victory with a message to the NBA fans watching: “Stay safe, right now, please.” When asked about his opponent’s win, LaVine remarked, “It came down to making shots and he made some very, very, very tricky ones.”

While this tournament is finished, NBA players are continuing to make efforts to compensate for the lost season. Many players, including Josh Hart, Jalon Brunson, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell and Zach LaVine vied for a $100,000 charity NBA2K tournament, and Suns Point Guard Devin Booker proved victorious over teammate Dyandre Ayton. The online viewing platform Twitch has also become a go-to website for NBA fans wanting to see their favorite players as they play video games such as Call of Duty, NBA2K, Borderlands, and other trending games. 

In the weeks ahead, expect to see more friendly tournaments, hoping to bring together the NBA and sports communities over video chat, even as fans can’t see them play in person.