BOSTON (CBS) — Somehow, Marcus Smart and his bag of trick shots will not be participating in the NBA’s H-O-R-S-E competition. But Celtics legend Paul Pierce will shake off some rust and put up shots to help fill the sports void during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pierce was announced as a participant on Thursday, joining current NBA stars Chris Paul, Trae Young, Zach LaVine, Mike Conley, former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings and WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley in the single-elimination competition. Each player will put up shots from their homes (hopefully they all have a strong WiFi signal, otherwise the broadcast could get slightly awkward) while practicing isolation and social distancing.
So unfortunately, Ron Artest won’t be around to give Pierce’s shorts a tug, only to have The Truth drain a three in his face. But given Pierce has been retired for the last few years, he’s probably mastered plenty of trick shots in his driveway. Maybe a wheelchair will make an appearance during the competition.
The fun will begin Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m., with participants divided into two groups of four. The winners of the first two games in each group will then meet in the semifinals, which along with the championship round, will take place Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. The competition will air on ESPN.
Pierce will square off against LaVine in the quarterfinals. Dunking is not allowed, so LaVine will be at a disadvantage against the 42-year-old Pierce.
While this certainly isn’t the playoff basketball that would be getting underway at this time, the compeition should be entertaining and it’s all to help coronavirus response efforts. State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on battling the pandemic.
Plus, we’ll get another glimpse of Paul Pierce putting up shots. We’ll take it.