The NBA schedule will be announced Wednesday evening, and not to be a Grinch, but was hoping that the Thunder wouldn’t get a Christmas game. Our man Darnell Mayberry reports that the Thunder will play in San Antonio at 2:30 p.m. Christmas Day.
I know, it was a fat chance that the Thunder would avoid a Christmas assignment. The Thunder is one of the NBA’s three or four marquee franchises, much less one of the NBA’s 10 most attractive squads. The NBA has commandeered Christmas Day to the point where quintupleheaders now are the rule. Games start before noon and deep into the night on the West Coast.
Since the Thunder’s breakout season of 2009-10, OKC has been a Christmas staple. The Thunder hosted Denver in 2010 and Orlando in 2011. The Thunder played at Miami in 2012 and at New York in 2013.
There’s no secret why the Thunder is on Christmas. People want to see Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. I want to watch them, too. I don’t miss the Thunder. I say about the Thunder what George Costanza said about reading the sports page. “I could read the sports page if my hair was on fire.”
And I’ll watch — at least I don’t have to cover the game — the Thunder on Christmas Day. But I would prefer not to. I would prefer to have Christmas Thunder-free. I like Christmas. I like the revelry, I like the family gathering, I like the dinner, I like the hanging out with people I care about. That doesn’t have to stop, necessarily, if the Thunder is playing. But Thunder-Spurs would be just as cool on Dec. 26 or Dec. 27.
Of course, the Thunder could provide some comfort to people who are lonely on Christmas. Lord knows the Thunder gets a lot of people gently through cold winter nights. The best scenario is if we didn’t leave it to the Thunder to look out for the disenfranchised.
But wishing one way or the other won’t help. America loves the Thunder. America loves NBA games on Christmas Day. The only question annually about the Thunder and Christmas is not if, but when and where.