Dear Mr. Stern:
Later this month, NBA play will resume after a lengthy lockout and intense labor negotiations between the players and management. But why are you starting this abbreviated season with a tripleheader on Christmas Day, December 25—a religious day revered by a majority of the American people and a special time for remembrance, reflection and family get-togethers.
Obviously, most NBA players and coaches would rather be with their families on this historic, revered day for Christendom.
Just as obviously, in tune with the over-commercialization of Christmas by businesses that seems to intensify with each passing decade, there are those who see dollar signs and promotional extravaganzas for the Knicks-Celtics, Heat-Mavericks, Bulls-Lakers in order to rev up the dimmed enthusiasm of many fans caused by the prolonged NBA dispute. But you run the NBA and made the final decision which is why this letter is addressed to you.
I urge you to reconsider the Christmas day NBA overload in a spirit of decency, regard and recognition as to how this will disrupt family gatherings throughout the day with predictable arguments between children and parents about watching the games instead of spending quality time with siblings, parents, relatives and friends.
There is an NFL football game that evening which is bad enough. But at least it is in the evening after most Christmas Day traditions have been completed. Three NBA games belatedly on top of that NFL game is overload and piling on.
Take a poll and see how many people would agree that it is proper and respectful not to have this triple-header. Consider the article by Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal (November 28, 2011) titled “Can the NBA Steal Christmas?”:
“Isn’t it a little presumptuous for the NBA to skulk back on Christmas? December 25 is a cherished day for family…. It’s a day for people you love, for stuff kids want. It’s not for a basketball league that spent five months dickering around in a labor dispute—and wants to waddle in through the front door like a sketchy ex-husband and plant itself under the mistletoe….
“The NBA has long tried to claim Christmas, but not all of its membership is convinced. ‘I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game,’ Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy grinched a couple of years ago. Last season, Van Gundy snarkily suggested the league should run 24 hours of Christmas games back-to-back. ‘We need to start them at midnight on Christmas Eve and play them all through the day so there’s not a minute of Christmas Day where there’s not an NBA game on TV. The NBA is Christmas.”
The public deserves an explanation from you about this three-game basketball massing on the birthday of Jesus Christ. They need you to explain just why commercialism and monied interests should elbow into the many daytime hours of this major religious day. Why not reschedule?
I hope people who object to your tripleheader scheduling on December 25 express their displeasure with their sentiments directly to your office via this contact form: http://www.nba.com/email_us/contact_us.html
Your response is invited.
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.