If The NBA Is Going to Televise H-0-R-S-E Games, These Are The Matchups It Needs to Have

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Jordan go shot-for-shot with Bird again, ala that classic McDonald’s commercial...what are we waiting for?
Jordan go shot-for-shot with Bird again, ala that classic McDonald’s commercial...what are we waiting for?
Illustration: Eric Barrow (AP/Getty)

The last NBA games were held on March 11, which now feels as though it were about 20 years ago. The desperation of sports fans has reached the point that we have even turned to watching marbles race to fill the void.

Luckily, we may have a live basketball event coming to us soon in the form of a remote game of H-O-R-S-E.


Without knowing which players will be participating, for instance, presumptive MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo told reporters “I don’t have access to a hoop”, I put together my list of dream matchups that would satisfy my craving for basketball and entertainment.

1. The Legends: Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan

Their 1993 McDonalds ad is indisputably one of the best sports commercials of all-time. Legend has it that neither player has missed yet, so seeing Bird and Jordan finally finish their game live on television would be a dream come true for multiple generations of basketball fans.
The Pick: Jordan – He hates losing more than anyone hates anything


2. The TNT Crew: Charles Barkley vs Shaquille O’Neal

We’ve seen these two go after one another verbally and physically on the court and for years on the set of Inside the NBA. They might not be the best shooters in the world, but Sir Charles vs The Diesel would bring us some desperately needed comic relief.


The Pick: Barkley - This ends with Shaq missing a free-throw, guaranteed

3. The Shooters: Steph Curry vs Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf

Steph is the best shooter in the history of the world, but Abdul-Rauf was the prototype he followed on his way there.


Most recently seen dominating in the BIG3, it would be nice to see the NBA honor Abdul-Rauf after he was essentially blackballed for refusing to stand for the national anthem in 1996.


If that’s not a fair fight, I could see Kyrie Irving stepping in to shoot a 3 from the same spot he hit from to win the 2016 NBA Finals. I could also see him explaining a conspiracy theory about 5G being the real cause of the Coronavirus.

The Pick: Curry — The greatest shooter isn’t losing to anyone, except maybe his brother


4. The Young Guns: Luka Doncic vs Trae Young

The best matchup on the entire board might be between these two 21-year-old franchise players. Doncic looks like the better player, but Young’s long-range shooting ability might give him the advantage here. You could charge $29.99 on PPV as I’d gladly pay just to watch these two shoot for 30 minutes.


The Pick: Young — Swished 35+ footers will carry him to victory

5. The Superstars: LeBron James vs Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant recently recovered from COVID-19 and of course, his health is the No. 1 priority. If he’s well enough to compete, it would be a morale boost to see the 2009 and 2010 All-Star Weekend H-O-R-S-E champion competing again. Lebron James is his perfect opponent, and if their matchup was anything like their flag football game during the 2011 lockout, we’d be in for a treat.


The Pick: Durant — Because nobody cares more about what the internet thinks than KD


6. The No. 1 Picks: Ben Simmons vs Markelle Fultz

The 2016 and 2017 No. 1 overall picks, respectively, are not exactly known for their shooting, which would make this all the more amusing. Watching them build a brick house on the court would be secondary to reading the Twitter comments roasting both of them for never stepping outside the arc.


They’ll probably have to flip this to a game of P-I-G midstream due to time constraints.

The Pick: Fultz - Once he hits a 3, Simmons will just take his ball and go home

7. The Retired Guys: Paul Pierce vs Dwyane Wade

Paul Pierce tweeted “I’m in” and Dwyane Wade is rumored to be interested in playing as well. The Truth vs The Flash sounds like a Superhero movie, but there is actually some drama between these two after Pierce hilariously claimed he was the better NBA player.


The Pick: Wade — He gets some revenge for Pierce saying his career was better

8. The Traded Duo: Chris Paul vs Russell Westbrook

Most of these matchups would be about fun and laughter, but CP3 and Westbrook are absolute killers who would do anything to win. Russ would use his athleticism to his advantage while Chris would definitely find a loophole in the rules to exploit. James Harden announcing this matchup would make it all the more spectacular.


The Pick: Paul — By hook or by crook, CP3 finds a way to win

Truthfully the NBA could pit Michael Kidd-Gilchrist against Timofey Mozgov and we’d all still watch, but I pray to the basketball gods that we get a well-produced event with some big names involved.