A SWAT for hooping it up on a holiday
"It's going to be Christmas, and you're going to have little kids putting batteries in toys and putting their Christmas presents together," said Jackson, the son of two ministers. "There's all kinds of crazy stuff going on, and now your head has got to get focused on the game, in the middle of the afternoon on Christmas Day."
The Detroit Free Press was less than sympathetic. "You don't hear the Lions complaining about having to play on Thanksgiving every year, do you?" Well, bah humbug to you.
I don't mind Thanksgiving football. That's in part because it was a tradition I grew up with, but also because Dallas and Detroit were so uninteresting this year that I barely knew they were playing. I don't think they did either.
Christmas basketball, though, is another thing. Like the rise of the NBA, it's a trend that's developed during my lifetime so I don't have warm and fuzzy childhood memories of Christmas with Pawpaw stuffing himself at dinner then retiring to his Archie Bunkeresque arm chair to growl at the grandkids. "Be quiet. The game is on."
But I did marry into a crew of Laker fans who never hesitated to head to the TV room and turn on the tube in time for tip-off - never mind that the roast was always coming out of the oven at about that same time. We have to have our priorities. The Lakers play only once a year, while Christmas comes 82 times. Or is that the other way around?
Not that I didn't toil mightily to avoid the collision of lunch and Lakers. I tried instead scheduling breakfast, brunch and dinner. I always managed to collide with someone's plans that couldn't be changed and create an even bigger hoo-ha than the one that stemmed from my rising blood pressure at seeing half the guests in the dining room and the other half loving on LA.
So, yes, David Stern, you should end the Christmas Day game. Jackson and James are right: Dec. 25 is a special and holy day.
"If you ask any player in the league, we'd rather be home with our families," James told The Associated Press. "I think the people that even set the games up would rather be home with their family during this day. It's not just a regular holiday. It's definitely one of those days that you wish you could wake up in the morning with the kids and open up presents."
I get that the Christmas Day games draw some of the NBA's highest TV ratings each year. I don't care. League officials should Stop Wasting America's Time and show some consideration for families - James', Jackson's and others where hoops-addicted relatives can't get their priorities in order.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.