National Basketball Association Christmas games

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Games held by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Christmas Day, December 25, have been an annual tradition since the league's second season in 1947. [1] Currently, five games are played on Christmas. Unlike the National Football League (NFL)'s traditional Thanksgiving Day games, the NBA's Christmas Day games have no fixed opponents; rather, they feature some of the best teams and players. [2] Very often a rematch of the previous season's NBA Finals is showcased on Christmas Day.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America, composed of 30 teams. It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world.

The 1947–48 BAA season was the second season of the Basketball Association of America. The postseason tournament at its conclusion, the 1948 BAA Playoffs, ended with the Baltimore Bullets winning the BAA Championship, beating the Philadelphia Warriors 4 games to 2 in the BAA Finals.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

History

Doc Rivers.JPG
Phil Jackson 3.jpg
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers (left) and Phil Jackson (right) have participated on Christmas Day as both player and coach. Jackson is tied for the most coaching victories on Christmas Day and won his 1,000th game as a coach on Christmas Day in 2008.
Kobe Bryant 8.jpg
LebronFT (cropped).jpg
Lipofsky Shaquille O'Neal.jpg
Kobe Bryant (left) has played the most games on Christmas Day of any player. He has played against LeBron James (middle) twice and played alongside Shaquille O'Neal (right) five straight years, but against him three times.

The first NBA game played on December 25 came in 1947, a year after the NBA's inception, when the New York Knicks beat the Providence Steamrollers at Madison Square Garden 89–75. [1] Since then, the NBA has played games every year on Christmas Day except in 1998 (when a lockout canceled half the 1998–99 season). In contrast, Major League Baseball is in its off-season during Christmas, the National Football League only schedules Christmas games when Christmas falls on the weekend (and even then only schedules games on Christmas occasionally) and the National Hockey League's collective bargaining agreement forbids playing games on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas (In seasons in which Dec 26th is a Saturday, the break occurs from Dec 23rd thru the 25th). In college football, the only bowl game traditionally scheduled for Christmas has been the defunct Aloha Bowl (and for one year, its replacement, the Hawaii Bowl; that game itself moved its date specifically due to ESPN/ABC's acquisition of NBA telecasts, including Christmas Day games). Thus, the NBA is the only league to regularly schedule games on December 25. [1]

New York Knicks American professional basketball team

The New York Knickerbockers, more commonly referred to as the Knicks, are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The Knicks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden, an arena they share with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL). They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the other is the Brooklyn Nets. Alongside the Boston Celtics, the Knicks are one of two original NBA teams still located in its original city.

Providence Steamrollers Defunct American basketball team

The Providence Steamrollers were a Basketball Association of America team based in Providence, Rhode Island. As of 2019, the Steamrollers remain the last professional sports franchise from one of the Big Four leagues to be based in Rhode Island.

Madison Square Garden (1925) Arena in New York, United States

Madison Square Garden was an indoor arena in New York City, the third bearing that name. It was built in 1925 and closed in 1968, and was located on Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan, on the site of the city's trolley-car barns. It was on the west side of Eighth Avenue. It was the first Garden that was not located near Madison Square. MSG III was the home of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, and also hosted numerous boxing matches, the Millrose Games, concerts, and other events.

In the early days, regional proximity dictated most of the matchups. [3] Teams would usually play their geographical rivals to cut down on holiday travel and to allow them to have more time with their families. [3] According to Dr. Jack Ramsay, who coached the Portland Trail Blazers from 1976–77 (their only championship season) to 1986, "Christmas meant being at home with the family and having a game we always won. That was a perfect Christmas to me." [3] He set the record for most coaching victories on Christmas Day with 11, an achievement that Phil Jackson later matched in 2008. [4]

Jack Ramsay American basketball coach and broadcaster

John Travilla Ramsay was an American basketball coach, commonly known as "Dr. Jack". He was best known for leading the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA Title, and for his broadcasting work with the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat, and for ESPN TV and ESPN Radio. Ramsay was among the most respected coaches in NBA history and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the winner of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2009–10 NBA season.

Portland Trail Blazers Professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon

The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995. The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by the Boston Red Sox. The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team based in the bi-national Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

The 1977 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1976–77 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers played against the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their four regular season meetings had been split evenly, 2–2, with neither side winning away from home. The series was played under a best-of-seven format.

In the early 1980s, the New York Knicks put on a show three years in a row. In one game (1984), hall-of-fame forward Bernard King scoring 60 points—the most ever scored by a player on Christmas Day, [1] With the advent of television and the excitement caused by these games, the NBA decided to scheduled games over the holiday that showcased the best teams and players. [3]

The 1984–85 NBA season was the 39th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Boston Celtics 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

Bernard King is an American retired professional basketball player at the small forward position in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played 14 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Washington Bullets. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013. His younger brother, Albert, also played in the NBA during his career.

Teams and players

The Knicks have played more Christmas Day games than any other team, with 53 total. They are 22–31 on the holiday. [5] Their most recent Yuletide appearance came in 2018 when they were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks,109-95, at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have a checkered history on the 25th. Their 22 wins are the second most by a team on Christmas Day, [4] while their 31 losses are the most.

The 2018–19 NBA season was the 73rd season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The regular season began on October 16, 2018 and ended on April 10, 2019. The 2019 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 17, 2019, at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The playoffs began on April 13, 2019 and ended on June 13 with the Toronto Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, becoming NBA champions for the first time.

Milwaukee Bucks American professional basketball team

The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Some players have participated on Christmas Day as both player and coach. Doc Rivers played with the Knicks in 1992 and coached the Boston Celtics from 2008 to 2013. Phil Jackson, who also participated as a player and coach, has been a part of at least 20 holiday games, [6] coaching on Christmas every year from 1990, with the exception of 1995 and 2004, until his retirement at the end of the 2010–11 season. He won his 1,000th game on Christmas Day in 2008. [4] [7] Kobe Bryant has never coached on Christmas (or at any time for that matter, as of June 2019), but he has played 16 games on that day, the most of any player. In fact, he has played more often on Christmas than on any other date on the calendar, playing his first in 1996 and his last in 2015. [1] [8]

Doc Rivers American basketball coach and former player

Glenn Anton "Doc" Rivers is an American basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As an NBA point guard, Rivers was known for his defense, a trait that has carried over into his coaching.

The 1992–93 NBA season was the 47th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Chicago Bulls winning their third-straight NBA Championship, beating the Phoenix Suns 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

Boston Celtics Professional basketball team in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league's original eight teams, the team play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Boston Bruins. The Celtics are regarded as the most successful basketball team in NBA history; the franchise has won the most championships in the NBA with 17, accounting for 23.9 percent of all NBA championships since the league's founding.

Many teams and players that have played on this day have worn special uniforms and sneakers. [9] From 2009 to 2011, the Knicks wore their third jersey, the green/orange alternate which they first used exclusively for St. Patrick's Day. During the game between the Heat and the Lakers in 2010, players on both teams wore holiday sneakers. Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom wore lime-green Nike sneakers [9] while James and Chris Bosh wore holiday-red shoes with green laces. [9] From 2008 to 2011, teams playing on Christmas Day wore a patch featuring the NBA logo inside a snowflake. Between 2012 and 2016, the NBA and Adidas produced special uniforms for the Christmas games. All of these uniforms feature a particular theme, such as monochromatic designs ('Big Color') and chrome-treated logos ('Big Logo'). In 2015 and 2016, Stance provided Christmas-themed socks for the games.

Memorable moments

The NBA Christmas Day contests have featured some of the most memorable games ever played. [2] [10] Bernard King scored 60 points for the New York Knicks in 1984. Patrick Ewing helped the Knicks come back to beat the Boston Celtics after trailing by 25 points in 1985. He then beat Michael Jordan and the Bulls on a last-second jumper in 1986. Scottie Pippen performed a last-second block in 1994.

The first showdown featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal as opponents occurred on Christmas, 2004. 2009 and 2010 featured faceoffs between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. [3] [11] [12] [13] Phil Jackson becoming the fastest coach to win 1,000 games (it happened on December 25, 2008). [7] In 2012, Kobe Bryant became the all-time Christmas Day scorer with 383 points, surpassing Oscar Robertson who scored 377 points. [14]

As a result of a lockout in 2011, Christmas Day was also the season opener. [15] ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy talked about that day, saying, "It's a different opening day than has ever happened in the past and Christmas Day games have always been a big day for the NBA. This unique situation combined with the unveiling of a championship banner for the Mavericks in a finals rematch, and then to see the Lakers and the debut of Mike Brown as head coach, those things are all going to be very compelling." [15]

Rivalries have also been showcased during games played on this day. During the 1990s, every Christmas but one featured a game involving either the New York Knicks or the Chicago Bulls, with the two teams playing against each other twice (in the Bulls championship season of 1992–93 and in 1994). [16] [17] They would have met a third time in 1998, if there had not been a lockout. [18] The only year during the 1990s in which neither team played on Christmas Day was during the Bulls first championship season in their second three-peat, in 1995–96. [19] During the 2000s, the NBA showcased the Shaq–Kobe feud. Since 1999, each Christmas has featured games involving either the Celtics or the Lakers, with both teams playing on the holiday in 2002 and every year since 2008. In a great pairing, the two teams faced off against each in other during the first of the Lakers' most recent back-to-back championship seasons of 2008–09. This was the first meeting between the two teams since the finals of the year before.

The home team is 142–75 in Christmas games. The winning percentage of .654 for the home team on Christmas Day is better than the overall winning percentage for home teams during the regular season or the playoffs since 1992. [1]

Christmas Day standings

Of current NBA teams. [20]

TeamLast GameWinsLossesWin %Previous team names
Atlanta Hawks 1989
(won 115–104 vs. Cleveland)
911.450Tri-Cities Blackhawks (1949–1951)
Milwaukee Hawks (1951–1955)
St. Louis Hawks (1955–1968)
Boston Celtics 2018
(won 121–114 (OT) vs. Philadelphia)
1418.438
Brooklyn Nets 2013
(lost 95–78 vs. Chicago)
45.444New Jersey Nets (1977–2012)
Charlotte Hornets Never00Charlotte Hornets (original) (1988–2002)
Charlotte Bobcats (2004–2014)
Chicago Bulls 2016
(lost 119–100 at San Antonio)
137.650
Cleveland Cavaliers 2017
(lost 99–92 at Golden State)
77.500
Dallas Mavericks 2011
(lost 105–94 vs. Miami)
21.667
Denver Nuggets 2012
(lost 112–100 at L.A. Clippers)
14.200
Detroit Pistons 2005
(won 85–70 vs. San Antonio)
1022.313Fort Wayne Pistons (1948–1957)
Golden State Warriors 2018
(lost 127–101 vs. L.A. Lakers)
1216.429Philadelphia Warriors (1946–1962)
San Francisco Warriors (1962–1971)
Houston Rockets 2018
(won 113–109 vs. Oklahoma City)
65.545San Diego Rockets (1967–1971)
Indiana Pacers 2004
(lost 98–93 vs. Detroit)
22.500
Los Angeles Clippers 2016
(lost 111–102 at L.A. Lakers)
68.429 Buffalo Braves (1970–1978)
San Diego Clippers (1978–1984)
Los Angeles Lakers 2018
(won 127–101 at Golden State)
2322.511Minneapolis Lakers (1948–1960)
Memphis Grizzlies Never00 Vancouver Grizzlies (1995–2001)
Miami Heat 2015
(won 94–88 vs. New Orleans)
102.833
Milwaukee Bucks 2018
(won 109–95 at New York)
32.600
Minnesota Timberwolves 2017
(won 121–104 at L.A. Lakers)
11.500
New Orleans Pelicans 2015
(lost 94–88 at Miami)
02.000New Orleans Hornets (2002–2005, 2007–2013)
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2005–2007)
New York Knicks 2018
(lost 109–95 vs. Milwaukee)
2231.415
Oklahoma City Thunder 2018
(Lost 113–109 at Houston)
614.300 Seattle SuperSonics (1967–2008)
Orlando Magic 2011
(lost 97–89 at Oklahoma City)
54.556
Philadelphia 76ers 2018
(lost 121–114 (OT) at Boston)
1714.548Syracuse Nationals (1949–1963)
Phoenix Suns 2009
(won 124–93 vs. L.A. Clippers)
126.667
Portland Trail Blazers 2018
(lost 117–96 at Utah)
144.778
Sacramento Kings 2003
(lost 111–103 vs. Dallas)
1811.621Rochester Royals (1948–1957)
Cincinnati Royals (1957–1972)
Kansas City-Omaha Kings (1972–1975)
Kansas City Kings (1975–1985)
San Antonio Spurs 2016
(won 119–100 vs. Chicago)
46.400
Toronto Raptors 2001
(lost 102–94 at New York)
01.000
Utah Jazz 2018
(won 117–96 vs. Portland)
52.714New Orleans Jazz (1974–1979)
Washington Wizards 2017
(won 111–103 at Boston)
167.696Chicago Packers (1961–1962)
Chicago Zephyrs (1962–1963)
Baltimore Bullets (1963–1973)
Capital Bullets (1973–1974)
Washington Bullets (1974–1997)

Scheduling and broadcasting

After a season's NBA Finals comes to an end, officials from both the NBA and the network that broadcast the NBA meet to plan the schedule of games for the holiday during the upcoming season. [3] In most cases, two of the teams that play during the holiday are the teams that reached the finals the previous season, and often a rematch of the NBA Finals is scheduled. [3] The NBA usually tries to have the best players play against each other. [3] Some examples of this include 2009 and 2010, when the defending champions of those seasons, the Los Angeles Lakers played at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009 and the Miami Heat in 2010, so that they could have showdowns between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James both times. [3] [9]

Broadcasting

Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts of the NBA feature Mariah Carey in a music video singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Oh Santa!" ("Oh Santa!" since 2010) Mariahparade1.jpg
Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts of the NBA feature Mariah Carey in a music video singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Oh Santa!" ("Oh Santa!" since 2010)

The first telecast of an NBA game on Christmas Day dates back to the league's early years. In 1947, the Providence Steamrollers played in New York against the Knicks on WCBS channel 2 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Stan Lomax and Bob Edge called that game. Fifteen minutes later, at 8:15 p.m. Central Time, Joe Wilson broadcast the game between Baltimore Bullets and Chicago Stags for WBKB channel 4 in Chicago.

The first nationally televised Christmas Day NBA broadcast occurred in 1967, when ABC broadcast a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Diego Rockets from San Diego. Jerry Gross and Jack Twyman called that broadcast for ABC. ABC would continue to televise Christmas Day games through 1972. Chris Schenkel did play-by-play for ABC during this period with the exception of 1970, when Keith Jackson had the honors. Jack Twyman remained in the color commentating position up until 1971, when Bill Russell took over. From 1975-1989 (with the exception of 1982), CBS broadcast a game on Christmas Day.

However, it was not until 1983 that the games became a household tradition, when CBS broadcast the game between the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks and ESPN broadcast the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers (Sam Smith and Dick Vitale were on the call for ESPN). [10] In the 1990s, NBC broadcast a doubleheader each year on Christmas Day and this has continued after ABC took over in 2002, except that in 2004 and 2006, ABC broadcast only one game. For three years (2004–2006) ABC insisted on having a Christmas Day game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers so that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal could play against each other. Since ABC took over the NBA, ESPN has also broadcast games on Christmas Day (except in 2006). Since 2009, Christmas Day broadcasts on ESPN/ABC have featured a music video with Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You." [21] [22] In 2010, Carey added "Oh Santa!" [22]

In 2008, TNT broadcast on Christmas Day for the first time as Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Craig Sager called the game between Washington and Cleveland in Cleveland and Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Cheryl Miller called the game between Dallas and Portland in Portland. This marked the first time that all three networks that cover the NBA (ABC, ESPN, and TNT) produced games on Christmas Day. As Christmas Day fell on a Thursday that year, TNT was given two primetime games as part of their regular TNT NBA Thursday slate (the same scenario also took place in 2014).

Due to the 2011 NBA lockout, the season opener took place on Christmas Day that year. As a result, the NBA gave TNT the first game of the Christmas slate with a contest between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Calling the game were Marv Albert (himself a former Knicks broadcaster) and Steve Kerr. [15] Also on that day, ABC broadcast the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 Championship banner ceremony during their pre-game show. This marked the first time in NBA history that a pre-game championship banner ceremony has been aired on a terrestrial television network; either Turner Sports or a regional sports network aired the ceremonies in previous years.

TNT returned to cover an NBA Christmas game in 2017 when the Lakers hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves, but instead of employing either Marv Albert or Kevin Harlan and their roster of game analysts, TNT opted to use the Inside the NBA crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal for the game.

In 2018, with the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers facing the Steph Curry and Kevin Durant-led Golden State Warriors being the top-ranked Christmas Day matchup in 2018, the NBA’s schedule read that the Association will simulcast that matchup on ESPN and ABC, with the network’s number 1 commentators consisting of New York Knicks play-by-play guy Mike Breen, former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, part-time United States men's national basketball team coach Jeff Van Gundy, and Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Salters, calling the action from Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

The ESPN/ABC simulcast will continue in 2019, when the Lakers, led by LeBron James and newly acquired Anthony Davis, take on reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and the LA Clippers, in the Battle of LA.

Reception

Praise

Mike D'Antoni said that the players should feel "very fortunate" to play on Christmas Day and said that they could adjust their schedules a bit. Mike D'Antoni 2010.jpg
Mike D'Antoni said that the players should feel "very fortunate" to play on Christmas Day and said that they could adjust their schedules a bit.

Several fans, players, coaches, and members of the news media support the tradition of Christmas games. For players and coaches, the standard public statement is that a Christmas game is an honor, as it is not only a chance to play on national television, but also a reward for having a great team and great players. [3]

Before the game between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic at Amway Arena in 2009, personnel on both sides referred to playing on Christmas as a reward. Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said that like most of the players, he always watched Christmas Day games growing up. He said, "As a kid, you wanted to be on Christmas...I tend to look at it as a reward." [23] In 2010, added that it was an "honor" to be part of the marquee games, saying, "I look at it as a privilege. The fact that they asked us to play on Christmas means we're one of the good teams, one of the featured teams." [24] Magic Center Dwight Howard said that he didn't "see a challenge. We're playing basketball on Christmas. We couldn't help it. If you play on a pretty good team and if you have to play on Christmas, so be it. I enjoy it. I'd rather be playing on Christmas than sitting at home wishing I was playing on Christmas. I like it. I think it's fun." [10]

Lamar Odom called it "a tremendous privilege to be able to entertain the world...playing on TV in those games." [3] In 2010, Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni said that players should be "very fortunate" to be playing on Christmas Day and that "it helps the league, and...it helps other people on Christmas or on the holidays." [17]

Doug White, an ESPN executive, said that Christmas is "Thanksgiving on the NBA side. Obviously, Christmas Day is a day when everybody is home, everybody is relaxing, and what better way to serve them than with as many games as we possibly can...We try to put on the best games possible that people have interest in." [25] Jermaine O'Neal on the Celtics agreed, saying, "It's special because the whole world is watching. It's Christmas, it's a special day, with everybody together to spend time with each other, as far as family and friends. We have the opportunity to do that, bringing our families down with us. It makes it that much more special—the opportunity to play in front of the rest of the world and be together at Christmas with our family." [24]

During broadcasts of NBA games, commentators and the news media have agreed with White and said that the nature of the games played has made Christmas Day the best day of an NBA regular season. They serve as a preview of a potential series in the playoffs, and perhaps, the finals. [6] [22]

Criticism

The Orlando Magic was fined in 2009 after Coach Stan Van Gundy said that the NBA should not be playing on Christmas Day. StanVanGundy 20050723.jpg
The Orlando Magic was fined in 2009 after Coach Stan Van Gundy said that the NBA should not be playing on Christmas Day.

In recent years, players and coaches have complained about playing on Christmas Day, saying that takes time away from families. [26] In 2009, Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy requested that the NBA do not schedule any more games on Christmas Day, saying "I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game" and said that the day is best spent with family. [23] The Magic coach was fined for his comments. [26]

In 2010, there were complaints from both sides before the game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, son of two Christian ministers and author of a book on spiritual growth related to basketball, said, "I don't think anybody should play on Christmas Day" and "it's like Christian holidays don’t mean...anything any more." [27] From the Heat, LeBron James said, "if you ask any player in the league, we'd rather be home with our families...It's not just a regular holiday. It's...one of those days that you wish you could wake up in the morning with the kids and open up presents."

Others have managed to voice some discontent while still accepting the Christmas game tradition. Before the game between the Bulls and the Knicks in New York, Coach Mike D'Antoni said, "I can adjust a little bit. I can open my presents up at 7 o'clock at night instead of 7 o'clock in the morning." [17] Raymond Felton said, "you'd rather be with your family. We're still going to celebrate." He, like many players, said that he was fortunate to have played with his family in attendance. [17] Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said, "I think it's an honor and a privilege to be playing. I know it's tough on the away team, particularly the players who have kids. But that's all part of it." [16] Derrick Rose said, "I'm going to miss my family, and I hate being away from home. But this is my job and it's an honor to be playing on Christmas." [16]

In 2004, the NBA was criticized for scheduling a game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. It was the first time since their brawl that the two teams had faced each other. [28] Such a pairing was unintentional, as the regular season was scheduled before the brawl took place. [28] The other game scheduled that day drew similar criticism. The game between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center marked the first time since the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Heat that the two teams were facing each other and the first time that Shaq and Kobe Bryant would be facing each other as opponents. [11]

The NBA does not schedule games on Christmas Eve, December 24, to allow players and coaches who have to play on Christmas Day to be with their families. [26] Also families of players and coaches who participate in Christmas games, normally attend the games. [26]

Television ratings

The NBA's Christmas games have garnered some of the highest ratings for any televised regular season NBA game.

In 2009, the game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks drew a 1.9 share with 2.6 million viewers, the highest rating for an NBA game on ESPN during the 2009–10 season. [25]

In 2010, the games that aired on ABC and ESPN delivered the highest cumulative audience ever. ABC's doubleheader averaged a 5.5 rating and ESPN's three telecasts averaged a 1.8 household coverage rating, the highest averages for either network when airing multiple NBA games on Christmas Day. [29] The game between the Heat and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers drawing a 7.3 rating, making it the second-highest rated NBA regular season game on ABC, trailing only the game between the two teams on Christmas Day in 2004, which drew a 7.9 rating. [29] [30] [31] Because of the nature of the Heat-Lakers game, Miami guard Dwyane Wade had a new commercial unveiled nationally on Christmas. [26]

In 2011, due to a lockout, the regular season started with the Christmas games. These games drew larger audiences than the games in 2010. [31] The games averaged 6.2 million viewers, [31] with the Bulls–Lakers game drawing a 6.5 rating, the third-highest rated NBA regular season game on ABC, and the Celtics–Knicks game on TNT drawing a 4.0 rating, making it the most-watched Christmas game on cable. [31] The game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors drew a 2.3 rating, making it the highest-rated Christmas prime-time game on ESPN. [31] The Associated Press said of the large audiences: "NBA fans seem more excited about basketball's return than bitter about the lockout based on television ratings for the league's delayed openers." [31]

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<i>NBA on ESPN</i> US television program

The NBA on ESPN refers to the presentation of National Basketball Association (NBA) games on the ESPN family of networks. The ESPN cable network first televised NBA games from 1983 to 1984, and has been airing games currently since the 2002–03 NBA season. ESPN2 began airing a limited schedule of NBA games in 2002. ESPN on ABC began televising NBA games in 2006. On October 6, 2014, ESPN and the NBA renewed their agreement through 2025.

<i>Hardwood Classics</i> US television program

Hardwood Classics is a television series that airs on NBA TV and features many of the greatest classic games recorded on videotape or film in National Basketball Association history. The show is produced by NBA Entertainment. During its earlier years on NBA TV, the series would air frequently in various timeslots, including at a set time on Thursday afternoons for a number of years. However, as the network has increased its output of originally-produced programming and live game coverage, Hardwood Classics airs more sporadically, with its most frequent airings taking place during the NBA offseason.

The 2007–08 Los Angeles Lakers season was the 60th season of the franchise, 59th in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and 48th in Los Angeles. During the offseason, the Lakers re-signed point guard Derek Fisher. The Lakers celebrated their 60th anniversary, thus the Laker jerseys wore the 60th anniversary patches on the leftmost part. They finished the regular season with 57 wins, finishing with the most wins in the tightest conference race in NBA history. The Lakers clinched the top seed in the playoffs for the 29th time in franchise history. This 15-game turnaround from the prior season has been attributed to the progress of the team's bench players and the mid-season trade for Pau Gasol. The Lakers sold out all 41 home games for the season. After 12 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant was named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player for the first time in his career.

The 1999–2000 NBA season was the Lakers' 52nd season in the National Basketball Association, and 40th season in Los Angeles. It was also the Lakers first season playing in their new arena, the Staples Center. During the offseason, the team re-acquired former Lakers forward A. C. Green from the Dallas Mavericks, and signed free agent John Salley. Green won championships with the team in the 1980s. More significantly, the Lakers hired former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, who would go on to help the team win 5 NBA Championships over the course of the next 12 years. The Lakers posted long winning streaks throughout the entire season finishing the regular season with 67 wins, the most wins since the 1971–72 team won a franchise-record 69 games. The Lakers clinched the top seed in the playoffs for the 25th time in franchise history and the first in nine years. Center Shaquille O'Neal was almost unanimously named the Most Valuable Player of the regular season.

The 2009–10 NBA season was the 64th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 1,230-game regular season began on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, and ended on Wednesday, April 14, 2010.

2010 NBA Finals 2010 basketball championship series

The 2010 NBA Finals was the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s championship series for the 2009–10 season. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. The Lakers defeated the Celtics, four games to three, to win the franchise's 16th NBA championship. The 64th edition of the championship series was played between June 3 and June 17, was broadcast on ABC, and was watched by an average of 18.1 million people.

The 2009–10 Los Angeles Lakers season was the 62nd season of the franchise, 61st in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and 50th in Los Angeles. During the offseason, the Lakers signed free agent and former defensive player of the year forward Ron Artest. Coming off from winning their fifteenth championship in the NBA Finals defeating the Orlando Magic in five games, the Lakers successfully defended their title. They spent the most money of any team on player salaries that season, totaling $112.7 million. The Lakers once again sold out all 41 home games for the season at Staples Center.

The 2010–11 NBA season was the 65th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 2011 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 20, 2011, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The season concluded with the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Miami Heat in six games, 4 games to 2, to win their first NBA title, and Dirk Nowitzki was named Finals MVP. Chicago's Derrick Rose was named the 2010–11 NBA MVP.

2010–11 Miami Heat season

The 2010–11 Miami Heat season was the 23rd season of the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In the regular season, the Heat finished first in the Southeast Division with 58–24 record, and made the NBA Playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year as the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed.

The 2011–12 NBA season was the 66th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA), began with the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the owners of the 30 NBA teams and the NBA's players. The previous CBA, which was ratified in 2005, expired at 12:01 AM EDT on July 1, 2011, resulting in a lockout. With the new deal in place, the regular season was shortened from the normal 82 games per team to 66, because of nearly two months of inactivity. The season began on December 25, 2011, and ended on April 26, 2012. The playoffs started on April 28 and ended on June 21 when the Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of their series, 121–106, winning the Finals, 4–1 and to capture the franchise's second NBA title. LeBron James was named both the season MVP and the NBA Finals MVP.

The 2012–13 NBA season was the 67th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The regular season began on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, when the 2011–12 NBA Champions Miami Heat started the season by hosting the Boston Celtics. The 2013 NBA All-Star Game was played on February 17, 2013, at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The regular season ended on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, and the playoffs began on Saturday, April 20, 2013 and ended on June 20, 2013, with the Miami Heat defeating the San Antonio Spurs in seven games to win the 2013 NBA Finals.

NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC is a presentation of Sunday afternoon broadcasts of National Basketball Association (NBA) games that are produced by ESPN and televised on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). As of 2018, the Sunday Showcase season always begins on Super Bowl Sunday.

As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.

As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.

Upon expiration of the contract in 2002, the league signed an agreement with ABC, which began airing games in the 2002-03 season. NBC had made a four-year $1.3 billion bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA rights, but the league instead went to ESPN and ABC with a six-year deal worth $2.4 billion, a total of $4.6 billion when adding the cable deal with Turner Sports.

References

Inline citations
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Bibliography