The circle is completing.
Kids play games of PIG and HORSE because they are the perfect way to beat boredom, a simple source of entertainment that only requires a basketball and an opponent.
Now, with our adult games too crowded and too risky to be played as normal, the NBA has turned toward our playground and driveway games.
“April Madness” starts on Easter Sunday
Starting on Sunday, April 12th, the NBA is staging an eight-person HORSE tournament featuring NBA stars (past and present) and a few WNBA players too. Competitors will be playing from separate locations and can monitor their opponents’ performance via video feed.
For those who don’t know, this is a shooting competition where you get a “letter” of the word horse if you fail to match an opponent’s made shot. The first player to get all five letters loses.
BetRivers is adding to the action by offering a free Bracket Challenge with a $1,000 prize pool.
“We are happy to offer our NBA bettors an alternative while the season is suspended,” said Mattias Stetz, C.O.O of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com. “The NBA has been very creative with this HORSE Challenge. And we think our bracket will add some additional excitement for our bettors.”
Chris Paul, Trae Young headline the HORSE field
ESPN is brodcasting every matchup in the HORSE tournament starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young will take on former NBA champion Chauncey Billups. Former Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings faces the Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley.
Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls plays former Boston Celtic and ESPN analyst Paul Pierce. And Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul will battle the WNBA’s Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky.
Nothing to lose: The Bracket Challenge is free to enter
Those interested in building a bracket should start by clicking the NBA Horse Challenge icon at BetRivers.com (or PlaySugarHouse.com in New Jersey). Players can make their picks between Saturday morning (April 11) and 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 12th.
The competition is free to enter and will be scored much like a March Madness bracket pool. Entries will earn one point for each correct pick in the quarterfinal round, two points for correct picks in the semifinals, and three points for picking the correct champion. Winners of the bracket challenge will receive a share of $1,000 bonus money.
NBA Horse Challenge final rounds are set for Thursday
The semifinals and championship game of the NBA’s HORSE Challenge will be broadcast on ESPN (and streamed on the ESPN app) on Thursday, April 16 at 9 p.m. ET.
The competition is a far cry from a typical game. Ten players on a single court have been replaced by two in separate locations.
But it’s still basketball. And thanks to BetRivers, there’s an option to wager on it too (sort of).
As the competition continues, you might hear more than the bouncing of a basketball and the swish of a net.
You might catch the echoes of all those childhood games, when all you needed was a basketball and an opponent.
The circle is completing.