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Why December 25 is the height of the regular season?

This year once again, US basketball fans will be enjoying the posters presented by the National Basketball Association after the opening of their Christmas gifts. tradition.

It’s an unmissable event in the regular season. The person who is checked from the start when the program is detected. The best teams, the biggest stars, are all in the party during matches scheduled for December 25. With five prestigious meetings on the roster, the National Basketball Association prepares a high-profile program each year for this time of year.

historical tradition

Since 1947, the Christmas games It is already established in the NBA. Since the second year of its existence, the Great League has wanted to stand out from its competitors. By playing on this date, which other North American leagues refuse to do, you have secured the sport’s monopoly among Americans during this holiday season.

Like NFL with ThanksgivingAnother public holiday on the other side of the Atlantic, it is customary to go watch your favorite team’s game, before sharing a family dinner. With the explosion of television in the 1960s, the NBA was invited into American living rooms. During the meal, fans, as well as less regular followers, watch the results from the corner of their eyes. Julie Sobieski, Vice PresidentESPNExplain this tradition: “It’s the NBA holiday. There is nothing better than opening gifts in the morning and then watching basketball with your family the rest of the day.”

Bernard King, King of Christmas

History becomes truly sacred in 1984. That year, the Bernard King Knicks faced their neighbors in New Jersey. And if the Nets finally win 120-114, it is the “King of New York” performance that will be remembered. The rotating winger scores 60 points, a record that still stands on Christmas Eve, and is changing the dimensions of a team encounter. Christmas Day.

Leaders at the time see performance frenzy, especially among those who don’t regularly follow basketball and watch as a family. Whereas before they were geographically close teams against each other so as not to encroach too much on players’ parties, the new big boss, David Stern, decided to make December 25 a show for the NBA.

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basketball day

From the next release, the best teams of the moment and competitors will be on the field on Christmas Day. And starting in 1985 the history of the league was written on this occasion. That year, Patrick Ewing and the Knicks recovered from a 25-point lead and after winning the classic overtime against the Celtics. In the 2000s, the rivalries between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, then Bryant and LeBron James, were highlighted. Most recently, the Cavaliers Warriors presented a rare intense game, concluding in the last seconds of 2016.

These terrible performances made this day an ode to cross-Atlantic basketball. Within fourteen hours, these concert posters are broadcast nationally, and therefore accessible to all. In this case, in ABC And ESPN. Of course, French fans of the big orange ball won’t miss anything on their antennas be in sports. It is in any case a boon to the NBA, which systematically secures its best regular season fans. 10 million TVs connected to the event were exceeded in 2018, during the Lakers and Warriors. Higher peaks in most playoffs, although still lower than those of over 16 million in the finals.

The National Basketball Association is working so that these meetings do not overlap, so that no one misses anything. Derek Vivers, who was about to play his first role Christmas game In 2018, the fond memories of those special days came to mind. “I always loved watching the guys at Christmas when the family came home. Everyone was around the table and we went from ABC to ESPN to TNT the whole time. These are great memories.”

Players are not really happy

The former jazz player is one of the few players who have championed this tradition. In 2010, legendary coach Phil Jackson criticized the authorities. “I don’t think we should play at Christmas. The NFL is taking a vacation, I don’t understand… It’s like it doesn’t mean anything to anyone anymore. We play and have fun, it’s really weird.” The National Basketball Association, which did not appreciate the comments, had at the time fined the Bucks $10,000.

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This did not slow down the players’ ropes, even the most symbolic. If his rhetoric softened after officials’ warnings, LeBron James also disapproved of the practice in 2014. “If you ask any player in the league, yes, we prefer staying at home with our families.”

With 15 participating in 17 NBA seasons, the “King” often didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with his kids. It should be the same this year, with Kevin Durant’s boxer facing off. Unless Covid, which has put more than 60 players in a week-long isolation protocol, will not match Kobe Bryant, the record holder in 16 games, on December 25. The cancellation would then be the second in history after 1998, when a lock The season only started in February.