The NBA league could now take advantage of the festive date to celebrate its growing popularity.
Fans who want to see a new chapter in the rivalry between Golden State and Cleveland should not miss the Christmas duel starring LeBron James and Kevin Durant. For those looking for something new, the billboard of December 25 also has something to offer.
It is a multi-stellar cast, which of course highlights the reissue of the last three league finals.
But at the beginning of the day, it will be possible to see Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Kristaps Porzingis. And in the closing these players will be on the court, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Thus, this year’s show will not only represent an opportunity to see the great stars, but also those who could join them very soon in that category.
“They are doing it for their talent. There are talent and players that can be attractive, so I understand why they have chosen these teams, “said Vince Carter, a Sacramento veteran.
This is the program:
-New York receives Philadelphia, who did not play at Christmas since 2001.
-Golden State receives the Cavaliers on the court where they were liquidated in June to win their second title in three years.
-Washington visits Boston, in what will be the Celtics’ first Christmas duel at home.
-Oklahoma City crashes against Houston, in a duel between Russell Westbrook, the Most Valuable Player of the previous season, and James Harden, who took second place in the voting.
-Minnesota visits the Lakers in a meeting between two teams that will not go to the playoffs but have acquired some of the most talented youngsters in the league in recent drafts.
Once, the Christmas day was a kind of formal presentation of the NBA campaign to the public. Many spectators paid attention to basketball just on this date, at a time when the football season was coming to an end.
Jeff Van Gundy, an ABC analyst who will work during the Cavaliers-Warriors match, was among those who said the NBA should take seriously the possibility of starting its campaign at Christmas, in order not to be eclipsed by the NFL.
But the NBA could now take advantage of Christmas to celebrate its growing popularity. The combined audience levels on ESPN and TNT have risen 21% this season. The parties have averaged 1.9 million viewers, even before the time when even better figures are usually achieved.
ESPN says that its audience levels are the second highest it has registered at this stage of a campaign, only behind 2010-11, James’s first in Miami.
Van Gundy was somewhat surprised.
“I do not know what this means, but we do have a lot of really good young players,” he said. “We have a budding dynasty, with Golden State, a team that tries to challenge it in its own conference or a couple of teams, San Antonio and Houston. And LeBron continues to impress. “
All the teams mentioned by Van Gundy will play on Monday, except for the Spurs. But as often happens at Christmas, the important thing is the stars and not the teams.
Carter was one of those players who fans never tired of seeing at the beginning of his career, a time when it was not possible to hire a service to watch all the games in the league and could not look for the best plays on the Internet.
He would have been the perfect player to include in a Christmas card. But back then, the NBA only played two or three games on that date, and the Toronto Raptors appeared only once in a Christmas match.
“It was fun to see us,” recalled Carter. “We wanted that opportunity.”
This will be the tenth consecutive year in which there will be five games at Christmas. And since a third of the league will take action, the opportunities for all fans to find something interesting grow.
Van Gundy expected the show to include the Milwaukee Bucks and his Greek star who seems to defy gravity, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“You should record even a training from Giannis, because it’s so good that he deserves to receive some advertising at Christmas,” said Van Gundy.
Maybe it will be next year.