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Five thoughts from last ESPN’s H O R S E competition


  • Chauncey Billups beat Trae Young, H O R S E to H O R

  • Mike Conley beat Tamika Catchings, H O R S E to H

  • Zach LaVine swept Paul Pierce

  • Allie Quigley beat Chris Paul, H O R S E to H O R 


1. The camera work

The entire competition was filmed on smartphones, and Zoomed into the households of millions of bored Americans, which created glitchy movements, mistimed coin flips, and too many wait, did that shot go in? moments. Our question: Why the hell didn’t ESPN overnight ship eight (disinfected) high-quality cameras to the eight competitors across the country, with a quick how-to manual for the little brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and wives of the H O R S E-ees? That would have stopped the vast majority of the criticism.

2. Paul Pierce looked very retired

The capris. The jacket. The scooter. The prolonged and confused stares into the camera. The medical/recreational marijuana we can only assume he had just enjoyed. Retired Paul is a threshold in life we can all aspire to reach. Retired Paul trying to play H O R S E, however ... 

Reminder: He played in an NBA game less than three years ago! Shout out to him for always willing to be goofy and fun, though.

3. The NBA players’ houses…

Not to get too soap box-y here, but it was a little bit startling to look at the difference in house exteriors between Chris Paul and Allie Quigley.

  • Quigley, a three-time WNBA All-Star who also plays in Russia during the American offseason, was shooting in a backyard with a creaky hoop that us normies can relate to, and have probably shot on before. 

  • Chris Paul was shooting in some state of the art court canopied by pleasant-looking trees.

Plus, Quigley shot him off the court. CP is making $38,506,482 this season. Quigley made $117,500 last year for the Chicago Sky.** We! are! not! saying! they! should! make! the! same! amount! But you can see why the WNBA players fought so hard for their recent collective bargaining agreement. ** And we made nothing last year. Please buy our newsletter. 

4. We know the rules, Mark

Technical difficulties aside, the most annoying part of the entire production was host/announcer/the best person ESPN could get to actually partake in this thing Mark Jones explaining the rules of H O R S E for each of the four new matchups. Would someone who didn’t know the rules of H O R S E be casually watching a televised H O R S E event? No.

5. It wasn’t great, but…

It was the definition of better than nothing. And the NBA would probably rather endure all the #NBATwitter hate than to have no reaction at all. The only indefensible thing of the entire night was Trae Young saying “I didn’t want to risk a long 3 today,” when his entire career has been built off risking long 3s.


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