Lakers coach Phil Jackson is the son of two Christian ministers, so perhaps it should not come as a surprise that he is dead-set against the Lakers being used as a holiday sacrificial lamb by the NBA for its annual slate of Christmas day games. The Lakers have played on Christmas every year since 1999.
Jackson discussed his distaste for playing on the holiday during an interview with the AP’s Greg Beachem (via The Washington Post):
It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean to them anything any more,” Jackson said. “Just go out and play and entertain the TV. It’s really weird, but it is what it is. We have to go to work and make the best of it.
“I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day. I don’t understand it.
“It’s going to be Christmas, and you’re going to have little kids putting batteries in toys and putting their Christmas presents together. There’s all kinds of crazy stuff going on, and now your head has got to get focused on the game, in the middle of the afternoon on Christmas Day.”
I have to agree with the Zen Master. There shouldn’t be any NBA games on Christmas, let alone the fact that the Lakers always are picked to play on the special day. I would assume that most of the players, staff and coaches – not to mention the broadcasters, arena personnel, etc. – are family men and would much prefer to spend Christmas with their loved ones as opposed to playing a midseason game which is no more important than the ones preceding it.
I don’t know about any of you, but I believe Christmas should be a day of rest, religious introspection and family. Or absent that, a day of exhaustively running all over town to different get-togethers, picking up after overindulged kids while beating your head against the wall trying to extract a toy out of nearly impossible-to-open packaging and dejectedly coming to the realization that after all the buildup, commercialization and effort that the holiday has come to an anti-climactic end. Why should NBA players be prevented from experiencing such joy? It’s only fair they be allowed to share in majesty and splendor of it all, right?
Jesus, what’s wrong with me? That damn Phil Jackson pulled some kind of Zen trick on me and now I’m as crabby about Christmas as he is about playing on the day. I guess if he’s not going to have any fun, no one will. Next thing you know, Jackson will be bitching about playing games on Samhain. Or Halloween, for you non-pagans out there.
Lakers’ Jackson still down on Christmas games [The Washington Post]