Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ; for Wade and Others, NBA Christmas Games Remain a Privilege

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ; for Wade and Others, NBA Christmas Games Remain a Privilege

Article excerpt

Christmas has already been celebrated at Dwyane Wade's house. His wife and kids unwrapped their presents on Wednesday night, since waiting until Sunday morning wasn't an option this year. Dad's got to work. Again.

Wade will wake up on Christmas morning in San Antonio, instead of being with his family in Chicago. He's part of the NBA's lineup on Christmas for the 12th time in his 14 professional seasons and even though it meant having a nontraditional holiday celebration, the Bulls guard still relishes being part of the league's showcase day.

"I won't lie to you and say it means as much as it did when I was young or when I got to be in my first Christmas game, Wade said. "But it is still special. At the end of the day, no matter what's happened in my career, the NBA has put me on Christmas, let me play on Christmas, let me be part of Christmas. One day, I won't be playing. But for now, it's still so cool.

The annual Christmas quintupleheader highlighted by the NBA Finals rematch of Golden State visiting champion Cleveland involves 10 teams, five arenas, hundreds of players and team employees, who- knows-how-many workers in those various buildings and will draw about 100,000 fans.

And no fewer than seven other teams will be traveling at some point on Christmas, because they play on Dec. 26.

"It's not a burden, Cavaliers guard James Jones said. "You come to find out that it's a privilege because if you're playing on Christmas, that means you are on one of the good teams. You're one of the teams people want to see. You don't lose sight that our business, my business, is entertainment and there's no better time to play than when everyone is at home.

It's a smorgasbord of basketball, starting with Boston visiting New York at noon and followed by Golden State at Cleveland, Chicago at San Antonio, Minnesota at Oklahoma City and the Clippers visiting the Lakers in the building they share in Los Angeles.

The league's schedule mandate is simple: There's usually a Finals rematch, and the other four games are about finding matchups of high- profile teams or players and hoping fans at home watch.

And they will. …

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