Throughout his NBA career, LeBron James has played many games on Christmas Day. James‘ status as arguably the face of the league has made him a staple to participate on that holiday nearly annually. He is about to play in his third Christmas Day game with the LA Lakers this season, which years ago he expressed how he truly feels about the situation.
A mainstay on Christmas Day
Since entering the league in 2003, LeBron James has worked his way into being featured nearly annually on Christmas Day.
James is on pace to participate in his 15th game on that holiday as he embarks into his 18th campaign. The only years that his team didn’t have a contest on the slates were between 2004-2006. Since then, he will have played in 14 straight Christmas Day games.
The 35-year-old has put up some memorable performances against some high-profile opponents. James had his fair share of battles against Kobe Bryant while playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. Meanwhile, he also had a few games against the Golden State Warriors in his second run with the Cavaliers.
Several years ago, James also expressed his true sentiment regarding playing on Christmas Day.
LeBron James’ true feelings about playing on Christmas
As long LeBron James continues his NBA career, he has become a guarantee to have his team scheduled to play on Christmas Day.
Although many stars do look at performing on the holiday as an honor, James had a very different stance concerning the matter several years. In 2010, before he and the Miami Heat took on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, he aired his desire to rather being at home spending Christmas with his family. (H/T Dave McMenamin of ESPN)
“If you ask any player in the league, we’d rather be home with our families,” James said in 2010 before his Miami Heat were set to play the Los Angeles Lakers on the road. “I think the people that even set the games up would rather be home with their family during this day. It’s not just a regular holiday. It’s definitely one of those days that you wish you could wake up in the morning with the kids and open up presents.”
In the years that have followed, James has softened his stance on that point of view. Many players likely share his previous comments as it’s a holiday that anyone would want to spend with their family. Given the commitment needed to the craft for any professional athlete, any time home with family is precious and highly valuable.
James has warmed up to playing on Christmas day as he’s grown older, but his original sentiment is one that is quite understandable.
LeBron James set to play on Christmas again
With the 2020-21 season set to begin on Tuesday night, LeBron James and the Lakers are days away from playing on Christmas Day.
This year’s matchup isn’t against the LA Clippers, but instead facing the Dallas Mavericks led by rising star Luka Doncic. The NBA is hoping to see another classic matchup between James and the next potential face of the league.
The strong connection that Doncic has to James, who he idolized as a child, makes for an even greater storyline around the contest. The Mavericks have the potential to take the next step forward with the 21-year-old leading the charge in what may be another MVP-caliber campaign.
Meanwhile, James can showcase that he is still staving off Father Time with another impressive campaign in a potential title run.