The first NBA game played on December 25 Arrived in 1947, a year after the NBA’s inception, when the New York Knicks Defeat the Providence Steamrollers at Madison Square Garden 89–75.
Since then, the NBA has played games every year on Christmas Day except in 1998 (when a lockout canceled half the 1998–99 season). By comparison, Major League Baseball is in its own off-season throughout Christmas, the National Football League only programs Christmas games when Christmas falls on the weekend (and even then only schedules games on Christmas sometimes ) and the National Hockey League’s collective bargaining agreement forbids playing matches on Christmas Day (and, except when it falls on a Saturday, Christmas Eve too ). In college football, the only bowl game traditionally scheduled for Christmas has become the defunct Aloha Bowl (and for one season, its replacement, the Hawaii Bowl). The NBA is the only league.
From the early days proximity dictated most of the matchups. Teams and with their geographic competitions would play to decrease holiday travel and also to allow them to have time with their families. According to Dr. Jack Ramsay, who coached the Portland Trail Blazers from 1976–77 (their only championship season) into 1986,”Christmas supposed being at home with the family and using a game we always won. That was a great Christmas for me personally.” He also set the record for most coaching victories on Christmas Day with 11, an accomplishment that Phil Jackson later matched in 2008.
The New York Knicks put three years in a row. In one match (1984), hall-of-fame ahead Bernard King scoring 60 points–the most ever scored by a participant on Christmas Day, Together with the dawn of television and the excitement brought on by these games, the NBA decided to scheduled matches over the vacation that showcased the best players and teams.
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