Okay, so there isn’t exactly twelve games on Christmas day. But there are a lot. Like a lot a lot. Ask any wife, girlfriend, sister, aunt or cousin. Christmas day, like a really loud, not at all silent or secret coup, from sun up til sundown is chalk full of sports. Kobe Bryant alone played sixteen games on Christmas day. Imagine being his daughters. Spending every Christmas at The Staples Center, barraged by drunk fans in Santa hats, the permeating smell of sweaty athletes. It’s got to be somewhat challenging to endure. I mean, thanks dad, for the expensive awesome gifts, the private schools and supreme education, but come one, just one Christmas at home or maybe on vacation in Italy, anywhere where the snow is drifting down, a white Christmas. Is that too much to ask?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Okay, so we know, or at least sports fans know, Christmas and the NBA have been synonymous since before I was born. Watching Shaq and MJ, Kobe and Lebron and all the rookie superstars (Durant – and remember Greg Oden) lace up on December 25th has been my entire Christmas experience. I gauge the day by the game calendar, the advent calendar freshly crumpled and lying on top of the recycling. I always have breakfast (bagels and lox) during an east coast game, usually the Knicks or something. Then I relax and get the fire started just in time for the noon game (almost always a rematch of last years Finals) and so on and so until deep into the evening. At some point even the most hardcore fan is a little burnt out. Five basketball games in a row, different cities with different fans in tacky Christmas attire? Let’s be honest, it’s a bit much. It’s one of those things, like a fire detector – it’s great to have and is comforting knowing it’s there – but sometimes you just gloss over it. No living soul can stand under the fire detector all day and stare at the blinking red light. You need an escape, another Hot Toddy, another eggnog or mimosa, something to break up the cycle. The most desperate change the channel to TNT or TBS where there’s a never ending cycle of A Christmas Story on loop. My Goodness, when did Christmas become to predictable?

And that’s where the greedy, savage marketing geniuses of the NFL decided to strike. “Five NBA games usurping an already dying tradition of family time and merriment? Well, what the hell are we waiting for?! Let’s get in there and smash the dreams of Santa a bit more! I mean, after all, the fat, diabetic gift giving beardo was invented by Coca Cola.”

Now, not all day but half of it, roughly six or seven hours of television time purchased, the NFL is proudly displaying two nationally broadcasted games on Christmas. And you know what? I’m excited! Don’t get me wrong, I love hoops – but it’s so refreshing to have some options, a little variety on such a blessed and material day!

So, this year, when my mom and all the women have left the living room and it’s just me and my dad and a cousin or whoever might be there watching football, not talking, silently sipping at our warm alcoholic beverages, at least we’ll have a little bit of choice in our decision to crack the already depleted armor of Christmas.

 

Anthony Statham

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