Phil Jackson: NBA Shouldn’t Play on Christmas (Bah Humbug!)

22 Dec
Phil Jackson

LOS ANGELES — Ah, Christmas. A time for holiday cheer.

And grumbling.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson finds playing on Christmas Day as appealing as unwrapping a hideous sweater. The Lakers on Saturday will play host to Miami, the 12th straight season they have played on Christmas, 11 with Jackson as coach.

“It used to be Phoenix and L.A. and New York and Boston and New York or Philly or somebody on the East Coast,” Jackson, speaking before Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee at the Staples Center, said of the once much more reduced NBA schedule on Christmas. “Now, I see they have like six games (actually, five) on Christmas. It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to (the NBA) anymore. You just go out and play and entertain (on) TV. It’s really weird.”

Jackson is one of at least two coaches not enthralled with this season’s Christmas schedule. Denver’s coach George Karl recently expressed displeasure that his Nuggets are playing on the road for a second straight Christmas.

“I’d prefer to do it in Denver,” said Karl, whose team plays at Oklahoma City on Christmas night after being at Portland last Christmas. “So next year, if they assign us another Christmas, if they play it in Denver, that’d be much more fun.”

Jackson, though, would prefer the NBA doesn’t schedule his team a Christmas game anywhere.

“I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day,” Jackson said. “Soccer teams don’t play this time of year… I agree (with the NHL also not playing). I don’t understand it. … You just have to keep reminding (the NBA) that this is a special day.”

Asked if he’ll remind NBA commissioner David Stern of that, Jackson quipped, “He’ll see (what Jackson said).”

Continuing on a roll, Jackson was asked what the giveaway should be Saturday at the Staples Center. Fans littered the floor with foam plastic fingers last year.

“I hope it’s a finger,” Jackson said.
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