The Annual NBA Christmas Day Coming Out Party Arrives During A Pandemic

The games must go on as money is to be made.

Christmas Day is the annual National Basketball Association coming out party and despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, this Christmas Day, the NBA is offering five contests, three of the games on over-the-air network TV. The NBA wants to proceed as normal.  There are games to be played and audiences that want them. The league has a sponsor and name for the daylong event. A car maker is presenting Tip-Off 2020. Sports is entertainment and the day is about making money. Whether there should be sports events while there is a raging pandemic filling up hospitals is another story. But it is a question left for another day.

The NBA owns Christmas Day TV programming with top matchups made for TV and it really kicks off the season especially this year. The first game on ESPN features New Orleans with Zion Williamson against Miami. There are three over-the-air games on ABC, and those games feature the league’s stars. Golden State and Milwaukee in one contest, Brooklyn and Boston in the middle ABC game and LeBron James and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Dallas Mavericks on ESPN and ABC. The day ends with an ESPN game with the Los Angeles Clippers playing Denver. The NBA is plowing ahead with its season during the pandemic and the media covering sports has bought in with almost pretending there is a normalcy to playing during a pandemic. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is not naïve, he expects COVID-19 will create bumps in the road. Sports did shut down in March but it is back despite COVID-19 restrictions and in some cases lockdowns. Everyday a sports league is not in the public eye is a day lost where revenues can be made even during a pandemic. There is TV and marketing money to be made.

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates with his teammates after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)