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Christmas Day and NBA Hoops, A New Holiday Tradition

For decades football has owned both Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. When you think of Thanksgiving, you think Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys as much as you think turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. For as long as most of us can remember, you plan to eat at around halftime of he Lions game, if you live on the east coast, or halftime of he Cowboys game if you live on the west coast.

New Year’s Day is about taking it easy after a night on the town and watching college bowl games. To play on New Year’s Day is a dream of all college football payers. Making trips to Florida, California or Arizona for New Year’s is a great way to cap off your holiday travels for a college football fan. It’s freezing cold up north, but you can be in Miami in 75 degrees watching your team play. If not, you spend the day parked on the sofa with the remote getting quite a workout.

Other Holidays/sports combos include Memorial Day and auto racing. When you think of Memorial Day, you think Indianapolis 500 and Charlotte 600. That’s 1100 miles of racing in one day. Then you get the next day off to have a cook-out and do summer stuff like swimming and playing baseball, whatever.

But Christmas has never really been about sports. Oh sure, there has always been some college football on TV at Christmas. But it has always been lesser bowls like the Aloha Bowl or the Blue-Gray game which they don’t even play anymore. But in the last couple of decades, the NBA has taken over Christmas Day.

They started out doing this way back in the 1980s, though hardly anyone noticed. They tried to make the New York Knicks the “Detroit Lions”of Christmas for the first few seasons, but it just never took hold. So the networks and the NBA decided that Christmas would be a good day to pit the teams that played in last year’s NBA Finals together in a rematch, or at least have a big rivalry game that day. It’s taken a while, but Christmas Day is now all about the NBA.

Tomorrow there will e five games on. Once the gifts are unwrapped and the kids are playing with their new toys, the adults can watch basketball until their heart’s content. Tip-off for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets is noon eastern time. That is followed by the Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers at 3:00, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat in a Finals rematch at 5:30, the Houston Rockets at the Chicago Bulls at 8:00 and the Denver Nuggets at the Los Angeles Clippers at 10:30. Those folks who work at Staples Center will be a busy group on Christmas. Hopefully they will be making time and a half tomorrow. Christmas Day for the sports fan might be even better than Thanksgiving with all those games to watch.

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