Image Courtesy of the National Basketball Association

By Zachary Lichter

Every holiday there is at least one game played in some sport. On New Year’s Day, there will be multiple college football games and the annual Winter Classic in the National Hockey League (NHL). All thirty Major League Baseball (MLB) teams play on Eastery. On Memorial Day, some MLB teams play and there can also be some playoff games in the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the NHL, depending on where the four teams from both leagues are standing in the conference semifinals. During the Fourth of July, there is Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Wimbledon Championships, and MLB games. On Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys play a game against a random opponent at home. There is also the third game with two random teams on Thanksgiving night. Then on Christmas, the NBA plays five games that are nationally broadcasted. As the calendar year ends, four college football teams usually play on New Year’s Eve for a chance to go to the National Championship. Despite all the sports that are played on specific holidays, this Christmas will be more exciting because since Christmas falls on a Sunday, people can watch the National Football League (NFL) or the five NBA games that will be simulcast on ESPN and ABC. 

With the NFL usually playing on Sunday and Christmas falling on a Sunday simultaneously this year, the games will look a little different. Most of the league will play on Christmas Eve. The Green Bay Packers will play the Miami Dolphins at 1:00 pm ET on Fox, the Denver Broncos will play the Los Angeles Rams at 4:30 pm ET on CBS and Nickelodeon, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Arizona Cardinals at 8:20 pm ET on NBC.

Freshman nursing major Christopher Mastoros gave his comments.

“I can’t wait to watch these games,” Mastoros said. “All these teams are very competitive and good teams. The Broncos are struggling a little bit, but Russell Wilson is very fun to watch. Likewise, the Rams aren’t doing well this year either, but now have Baker Mayfield who is still a good young talent so to be able to see him have another shot in the NFL is great. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are known by almost everybody so a lot of people will tune in to watch those games as well. Lots of great talent will be on display making these Christmas games great to watch.”

Christmas in the NBA will begin with the Philadelphia 76ers playing the New York Knicks at 12:00 pm ET. Afterward, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will play Luka Doncic and  the Dallas Mavericks at 2:30 pm ET. Prior to this game, James has played fifteen games in a row on Christmas Day. Later, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will play Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics at 5:00 pm ET. The Bucks and the Celtics matchup will be a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Memphis Grizzlies will play their first game on Christmas against the Golden State Warriors at 8:00 pm ET. The Grizzlies vs. Warriors matchup will be a rematch of the Western Conference Finals. Christmas will conclude for the NBA with the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets at 10:30 pm ET.

Senior nursing major Zachary Brotzman weighed in as well.

“I love the primetime matchups the NBA puts on Christmas,” Brotzman said. “I remember one year they put the Cavs and the Warriors on Christmas the year after they faced each other in the finals. That was a really cool and fun game. Also, my younger cousin is really into basketball, and this is a great bonding experience for me with him. The matchup that stands out to me the most is the Bucks vs. the Celtics. This is a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals from last year and it is a matchup of the two best teams in the East and possibly two of the best teams in the NBA. I am very excited to see young stars like Tatum, Giannis, Brown, and Smart play. It’ll be a great game.”

While most families spend their Christmases with traditions of giving gifts, opening presents, seeing family, and having cookies and eggnog for dessert, has watching sports become a Christmas tradition for most families? In some ways, watching football has become a Christmas tradition, with Christmas falling more towards the weekend. The NBA has hosted at least three games on Christmas dating back to 1947.  The NBA has always hosted games on Christmas, and that tradition happens no matter what day of the week Christmas falls.

“Watching basketball has definitely been a tradition that is in my family,” Mastoros said. “Football isn’t as big as a tradition, but my family and I will always watch the game when it is on. I can’t wait to flip back and forth between the football and basketball games this year and spend time with all of my family members that want to watch with me on Christmas Day.”

Whatever way people spend their Christmas, watching sports will become a Christmas tradition as people will change the channel between football and basketball. This Christmas will give plenty of sports fans opportunities for what they want to watch on TV.

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