NBA fans have gotten used to the fact that there will be games played on Christmas Day, something that is rare for other leagues. However, not many of us actually know the true reason as to why the league wants to showcase these games on Christmas.
Why does the NBA have games on Christmas Day? The NBA is all about entertainment, and what better way to entertain your viewers than by showcasing big games on a holiday when everybody comes together. The league sees higher viewership and more advertising revenue because of it. The league also specifically chooses matchups ahead of time to increase the number of viewers. That’s why you see great matchups on Christmas, like how the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Golden State Warriors when LeBron James first joined the roster a few years ago.
Lakers vs Warriors is just one of the many matchups that have been played over the years. 2021 will be more of the same as we have some exciting matchups to be looking forward to in about a month. Let’s dive a little deeper into the history of the NBA on this holiday and who we could be watching this year.
This year’s Christmas Day lineup
Entertainment will be readily available this year when the holiday comes around because the NBA made sure to stack the slate of games with talent. There will be five matchups taking place all throughout the day, one at a time to keep everybody locked onto their screens. The day kicks off with the Atlanta Hawks taking on the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. A playoff rematch which saw the entire Knicks franchise watch Trae Young’s spectacular play. Then, we continue onwards with Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics facing the reigning champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. Once they round out their matchup, the Golden State Warriors will take on the winners of the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns.
The Brooklyn Nets play against the Los Angeles Lakers in a possible NBA Finals preview. This game is likely to be the most watched due to the excitement and star power that each team possesses right now. Then the night will be finished up with the Dallas Mavericks facing off against the Utah Jazz in a battle of the Western Conference. The talent that will be hitting the floors is incredible, and certainly won’t lack excitement. It is now the 14th year in a row that five games have been televised on Christmas Day.
Who Has Scored the Most Points in a Single Christmas Game?
As you can probably imagine, there have been some insane performances by players over the years on Christmas Day. It has become a pretty interesting record and one that a lot of players would like to own to themselves. The most points that were ever scored in a single Christmas Day game was by Bernard King, when he dropped 60 points on the Brooklyn Nets during the year 1984.
The New York Knicks’ player delivered in one of the most memorable performances of all time. He’s been smoothly cruising at the top of the list for a few decades now, after he reached the top, Tracy McGrady was the only guy to ever come close. T-Mac scored 46 points against the Detroit Pistons back in 2002 while still a member of the Orlando Magic.
Who Has the Most Christmas Day Wins?
There are a few players with stellar win percentages on this holiday but only a few really stand out more than the rest. Ironically, the top few players on this list all played for the same team at some point in their careers. Dwayne Wade is still at the top for Christmas Day wins with 10 of them. To make this stat even more impressive for Wade, he holds a 10-3 overall record on the holiday which accounts for a win percentage of .769.
Right behind him is Udonis Haslem, another Miami Heat legend. Haslem has nine wins but is more importantly 9-1 in his career in this category. LeBron James is probably the only active player towards the top of the list because he is playing on the holiday every single year. James is 9-5 overall but has a game coming up this year to boost him to the top of the rankings, where he’ll be tied with Wade. I should also mention there has only been a few people in history to stay near the top of this list while remaining undefeated, Mike Riordan and Bob Davies are two guys that have done exactly that. Riordan is 8-0 on Christmas while Davis is 7-0. It’s going to be a long time before somebody wins this many games on a holiday without loss as these players did.
All-Time Leading Scorers on Christmas
As we previously mentioned, statistics for the holiday have been kept around very frequently. We have been paying close attention to the All-Time leading scorers list for this day, and Kobe Bryant is still at the top of the list. Kobe has scored 395 total points in 16 games on Christmas Day, which rounds out to 24.6 points per game on 41 percent shooting from the field.
Kobe is about to see his mantle be taken this year though, as James is second on this list with 383 points in 15 games. James was able to squeak past Oscar Roberson last Christmas, and could easily score 13 points to get himself into the number one spot. Another active player toward the top of the list is Kevin Durant, who sits with 299 points in 10 games. Durant is one of the highest scorers, with 29.9 points per game on the holiday. Durant also has a game coming up and could fly up another few spots with a 30-point game.