According to the twitter feed of Nate Jones, one reason that Kevin Durant is participating in the three-point shootout at this year’s All-Star Weekend is that the H-O-R-S-E contest will not be happening this year.
This news should not come as a surprise to anybody who watched last year’s HORSE contest. Ideally, the H-O-R-S-E contests should have given fans a chance to watch four great players fool around a little bit, make some tough trick shots, and eventually try to beat each other with the jumpers they felt most comfortable with. In other words, it should have been the most organic event at All-Star Weekend. After all, the best thing about H-O-R-S-E is that every game is different based on the skills and personalties of the people playing it.
Last year’s HORSE (technically, G-E-I-C-O) competition felt ludicrously overproduced. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson were all on the court and broadcasting the event as they talked to the competitors. The competitors were forced to try shots that viewers did themselves and e-mailed to TNT. The contest went over time, and the winner was decided by an (admittedly entertaining) three-point shootout between Kevin Durant and Rajon Rondo. If the NBA ever tries to bring H-O-R-S-E back to All-Star Weekend, one hopes they’ll turn down the volume a little bit and let the simple joy of great players trying to make trick shots speak for itself.