Mike Conley dug into his bag of trick shots. At some points, the Utah Jazz point guard, normally a lefty, used his right hand to make shots.
Conley showed off the veteran craftiness that made him a beloved Memphis legend as he won the NBA HORSE Challenge Thursday night on ESPN. He defeated retired NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups in the semifinals, then followed up by defeating Chicago Bulls forward Zach LaVine in the final.
Conley’s final shot to knock out Billups was an underhanded free throw similar to what NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry utilized in his career. He took out LaVine by shooting a layup that went over the backboard and in, the same shot he used to advance to the semifinals on Sunday when he defeated WNBA legend, Tamika Catchings.
“It was just a fun environment to be a part of and it gives us something to do instead of sit around the house,” Conley said on ESPN.
Conley’s best shot in the semifinals was when he tossed the ball in the air, spun around in a circle and then made a jumper off one leg. Billups missed his attempt.
He saved more tricks for the final against LaVine, who defeated Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley. Conley sank a free throw with his eyes closed and made a 3-pointer with his off-hand, while LaVine missed both attempts.
Conley got out to quick leads on both Billups and LaVine and used that to stay ahead. Although Conley had the luxury of shooting indoors, LaVine used his athleticism to force Conley into his two missed attempts.
In the end, veteran savvy won out as Conley finally claimed the title.
State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts.