Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  49 responses

Phil Jackson: Not a Fan of Christmas Day Games

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Long before the Lakers went out and embarrassed themselves against the Bucks at home last night, Phil Jackson was already in a salty mood. Much like his listless squad, Jackson was looking ahead to the blockbuster matchup against the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.

Phil isn’t looking forward to coaching that day; in fact, he is completely against the idea of sports being played on Christmas (only one of the NBA’s signature dates on the calendar.)

The Press-Enterprise has the amusing quotes, which David Stern will surely find less than amusing (and fine-worthy):

“It used to be two (games),” Jackson said Tuesday. “It used to be Phoenix and LA and New York and Boston, or New York and Philly or somebody on the East Coast. Now I see they’ve got like six games on Christmas. (It’s actually five, with the first at 9 a.m. PST and the last at 7:30 p.m.)”

It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to them anymore. Just go out and play and entertain the TV. It’s really weird … But it is what it is. We’ve got to go to work and we’ll do what we have to do to make the best of it.”

Later, he added, “I don’t think anyone should play on Christmas Day. Soccer teams don’t play. They take a break. No hockey. I don’t understand it.”

Jackson went on to complain about how hard it is for teams to find focus on such a hectic day. So, y’know, if the Lakers play like crap against Miami, they’ll have a nicely built-in excuse. Score!

Having been blessed throughout his career with superstar talent and juggernaut teams, Phil Jackson has had to coach on many, many Christmas Day games. The only way he’ll ever get out of doing it, is by retiring.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/HurstySYD Hursty

    I was watching the Laker broadcast, and Phil had a pre-recorded interview, and he was talking about NOT looking forward to the Christmas game (as in, focus on the Bucks, and Kobe said the same thing).
    PS -Kobe getting ejected and telling the second official (loudly) to “FU*K OFF!” made my day.
    The Lakers played like crap, no energy, no hustle, no desire.
    Clyde Frazier would’ve been deeply disappointed.

  • jay

    Is nothing sacred anymore? I’ll write a book about what I find sacred…I will call it sacred hoops!

  • Justin

    I couldn’t agree more. While I look forward to these games every year, from a player’s perspective I think it’s ridiculous to ask them to play on Christmas Day. Why should they have to miss this time of year with their families like everyone else gets to do? So the NBA can cop a rating?

  • Roy… not the one above

    its the day after christmas in australia, boxing day, so it works out pretty nicely for us aussies!

  • Jer dawg

    Yep, Kobe prepping to be Grinch come X-Mas day with that f-bomb salvo yesterday vs. Bucks. I like Xmas games. The players may hate games, but I see it as them treating their families like it’s Xmas everyday with their salaries. Lesser of 2 evils. Christian holiday? The commissioner is not of Christian faith. HE doesn’t care.


    That’s why you guys get the big bucks. I get paid 17 dollars/hour but I have Xmas and boxing off. But If I was getting Kobe’s 23 million, it’s xmas everyday that i am off.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Maybe the NBA should just let Casspi play one on one with Amar’e all day on Christmas.

  • Nashty

    ^^ exactly, rich people love complaining about what they ain’t got….just annoying as hell,

  • http://www.slamoline.com Max


  • kudos

    Phil is pissed about playing a basketball game for a couple hours on christmas? He can do whatever the f he wants to when he gets home.

  • vtrobot

    @LDR4: Nice one. Phil, coach a team without superstars for once and you can have the day off. Merry Christmas, b*tch.

  • MikeC.

    I have Xmas with my in-laws. The only thing that gets me through the day is knowing that I can watch 5 NBA games and that those games will keep me from interacting with everyone.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    The best reaction to this was a tweet from NBA.com’s John Schuhmann: http://twitter.com/johnschuhmann/status/17411896982372353

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    From a player’s perspective, it sucks but it’s not like it’s the day that matters since Young Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Uncle05Sam Earl

    Phil’s right.

  • Jackie Moon

    Rich people have no right to complain about anything just shut up and count your money!

  • Glenn

    Isn’t Phil a Buddhist?

  • Bimmer

    Same song, different year.

  • LD

    Just because he is rich does not mean that work becomes more important than family. Maybe the rest of these players’ families are not rich and only get Christmas off and the only person that can’t show up on that day with the rest of the family is they basketball player who has to work. It’s not everyday you get to spend an entire day with all of your family. Rich people are human too.

  • Da Holy Karron

    This is a good topic and im 50/50 on it myself cuz my selfish self wanna see da game. Now the spending time with fam sucks tho so i see both sides of this.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Actually, I would like these games to be moved to Xmas Eve. I’d rather catch these games live and it’s hard with filial obligations.

  • JTaylor21

    You know what grinds my gear; when poor people complain about rich people complaining.

  • Ali Saadat

    I’d rather have the games be played on the day after XMAS. That way the XMAS day buzz is gone and you don’t have to worry about ruining your XMAS, New Years though, thats a whole different story.

  • unrel

    i’ve been saying it the whole time.. it’s not a built in excuse.. think about it.. the visiting squad, normally, will stick with their game-time routine.. nothing changes.. fly in, hotel, shoot around, hang with teammates, chill, game time.. but for the home team.. dealing with in-laws, sleep late or wake early for opening gifts with kids, etc etc.. not to mention possible turkey coma.. then trying to play?.. come on, son.. but in regards to phil’s comments.. i don’t mind hoops being played.. because i like watching basketball..

  • barnabusb

    I think they should stop playing games on New Years’ day, too. Let the players enjoy themselves New Years’ eve and relax on the 1st. Have some family time, recovery time, whatever.

  • werd

    Here ya go!:

    Play them in the offseason with no crowd or leaks to the media of the outcome, and then broadcast the recorded version of Christmas day.

  • Andrew

    Hmmm, also the NFL plays on Christmas Day. The NFL plays on Thanksgiving Day, too. So it’s definitely not just the NBA.
    The NBA on Christmas Day, much like the NFL on Thanksgiving Day, is a decades-long tradition and, generally, the games are the highest rated of the regular season, so explain me how the NBA, which is a business at the end of the day, could tell no to that.
    Besides, Christmas Day games- among the other things- contribute to make Jackson one of the highest-paid coaches in sports, so he doesn’t have any business when it comes to whining about that.
    I’m also fairly sure he would be complaining about his team not getting enough respect if the Lakers weren’t scheduled to play on Christmas Day. Just like Stan Van Gundy, who complains when the Magic don’t play during an high-profile holiday game and when they do he complains about not having the holiday off. They can’t have it both ways.
    PS: Lots of people work on Christmas, not just athletes.

  • Sarah

    I tend to agree. I always feel bad for the guys that have to play.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Give me millions of dollars and a career in the NBA (back when I was in playing shape) and I would play every christmas,halloween,birthday, wife’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and MLK day..

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Phil is pressing stern star of david shaped button….. Christian holidays dont mean much……… Good one phil…. Nice jab at the sternbot. ……. Phils farewell tour continues

  • LD

    The WNBA should play on holidays too.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Fear the Deer Phil… and if your going to be playing on the 25th, fear the cooked ham and egg nog while your at it.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    agreed man lol

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Oh snap, the Zen Master playing mindgames again. Your move, Jesus!

  • youngmuggsy

    Why should the NBA respect Christian holidays more than other religious holidays?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    A scientology thing?

  • rob

    The reason the nba/ nfl makes the players play is obviously for ratings and for all the money to be made from the fans who attend these games. just think about it, almost everyone will be at home, which means more tv viewers. and i agree that players shouldnt complain about not spending time with their families, they can do it another time, besides they committed to their profession, so deal with it!

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Ill be the one to point out that theres almost always no games on christmas eve, so suck that phil! ……… ………… Also, svg had a great quote,’i feel sorry for anyone who has nothing better to do on christmas than watch an nba game.’

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    NBA Christmas Day games is like medicine for NBA watchers and normally the top teams are matched up against each other. Phil has enough money to have Christmas everyday of his life. Phil needs to cut it out. BOOK IT!!!

  • dma

    WTF is Phil talking about? Sacred? He’s screwing his bosses’ daughter.

  • http://hajrazigic@yahoo.com Weapon E

    i hope that some guy makes a game-winner.

    whenever i go to basketball games,they go to gamewinning situations

  • Justin

    Wow, for once I’m going to agree with JTaylor. Saying that they shouldn’t complain because they’re rich is probably one of the dumbest and most idiotic things I’ve ever read on here or anywhere else. So, they don’t get to spend the day with their families because they have money? Yeah, that makes sense. And to whomever said Phil can spend time with his family, I don’t think he’s jsut talking about himself. The Lakers aren’t always on home and neither were the Bulls. What about the 5 visiting teams who have to travel and not be home either?

  • rikson

    No justin, youre an idiot! They must not complain bc they MAKE tons of money with that exact sport!

  • Justin

    Sorry rickson, maybe it’s different for you. Maybe your family sucks and you’d rather be somewhere else. Other than that, how can you be such a moron? Please explain how it matters what these guys make? What you’ve just said is because these players make so much money they’re obligated to play. Does that also mean that rich executives in major corporations should be obligated to go into work that day too? Are they not entitled to be at home like everybody else? Hockey players make a lot of money, football players make a lot of money and yet they get to stay at home. So why should basketball players have to play?

  • youngmuggsy

    Hakeem Olajuwon had to play through ramadan, I’m sure that was more inconvenient than playing one game on Christmas day.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Check out Phil Jackson and his Illuminati attire on the picture for this thread.

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » LeBron James, Doc Rivers Don’t Want to Work on Christmas Day

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    Anton for the win.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    co sign everyone bashing phil