The NBA technically starts in October, but everybody knows that the real NBA doesn’t start until Christmas Day. That’s the NBA’s annual coming out party. For my entire adult life I have been gifted with a full slate of top tier NBA games on Christmas Day, usually headlined by a Kobe vs. Shaq or Kobe vs. Lebron or Kobe vs. KD and Westbrook, or Kobe vs. Duncan and the Spurs…basically Christmas Day was headlined with Kobe vs. the second biggest draw in the league that year.

Christmas has always been when the casual Basketball fan tuned into an NBA game for the first time all year and started to take an inventory of who’s who and who’s not. Which teams were legit and which teams were the New York Knicks. We live in an America where the NFL is king, college football is a close second, and the NBA (when it’s good) is a distant third. Which is why nobody pays attention to the NBA until Christmas. With two football leagues in full swing, most sports fans don’t have time for the NBA (read: Their wives and girlfriends won’t allow them the time and resources to fully commit to three sports leagues at once…. Sad.).

Now that college football is winding down (and is over for most of the country because the bowl season has become a complete joke if you’re outside of the top 4), the NBA can slide into America’s sports spotlight where it belongs and there is no better way to do that than with a huge slate of Top Tier Christmas Day games to get everyone’s juices flowing. It’s the unofficial official opening night that the NBA needs. The last 2 months have been a prolonged “countdown to kickoff”. So here we go, it’s finally here, the NBA on Christmas Day….

Only the NBA has two MAJOR problems this year:

  1. No Kobe. Now they didn’t really have Kobe last year either, but he was still in the purple and gold and he still put asses in the seats. They could still promo the shit out of him and people would still tune in to see if he might drop 50 (or 81). Love him or hate him, people watched when Kobe played.
  2. Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, and the NFL is going to run a full lineup of late afternoon Christmas Day games this year. Thoughts and Prayers to the NBA.

The NBA can’t compete with the NFL especially a Kobe-less NBA. My guess is that ratings will be at an all time low this year for Christmas Day NBA games. Which is sad. It’s sad for the NBA, it’s sad for Russell Westbrook who is setting a BLAZING pace and is the clear front runner for the MVP. It’s sad for The Warriors (the newest superteam everyone loves to hate) who are must see TV every time they play. It’s sad for The Celtics, who are the hottest young team in the NBA. It’s sad for Lebron who is a whore for the spotlight and needs attention as much as he needs air to breath. It’s just sad.

The NBA will take center stage in February/March through June (like it does every year), but without a big Christmas day splash my guess is that the league will be on America’s back burner until then. I just hope Westbrook is still playing out of his mind when the rest of America tunes in…because what he is doing on a nightly basis should be the top story on SportsCenter every night.

*Does anyone even watch SportsCenter anymore?