The NBA Is Pitting Giannis Antetokounmpo Against Aaron Rodgers, and Bucks and Packers Fans Lose

Adam Silver has navigated the NBA through an innovative conclusion to a season that COVID-19 nearly wiped out. He’ll soon attain hero status among owners when he puts $130 million in the pockets of each by orchestrating a bidding war for two expansion franchises. That’s unrelated to the viewing war he’s set up involving the Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers.

To sports fans in Wisconsin fans right now, the NBA commissioner is the grinch who stole Christmas. That’s because Silver is forcing hardcore sports fans there to choose between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Aaron Rodgers on Dec. 25.

The NBA has released important pieces of its 2021-22 schedule

The NBA announced Tuesday that its next regular season will begin on Oct. 19, with fans across the country getting a great doubleheader on TNT: the Bucks opening defense of their championship against the Brooklyn Nets, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Golden State Warriors.

Plenty could happen between now and the end of the season, but those matchups could be a preview of the league’s conference championship series. As an aside, the ESPN doubleheader three nights later – the Nets vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and Lakers vs. the Phoenix Suns – also feels like a very early tease of late-round playoff action.

The pro basketball league’s other big schedule announcement pertained to Dec. 25. The 14th annual quintupleheader lineup across two networks threatens to out-do the excitement of opening Christmas gifts:

  • Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks, ESPN, noon ET
  • Boston Celtics at Bucks, ABC, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Warriors at Suns, ABC, 5 p.m. ET
  • Nets at Lakers, ABC/ESPN, 8 p.m. ET
  • Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz, ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET

There’s more to come Friday

The NBA will be hyping its 75th anniversary season throughout the year. The hype starts with dragging out the schedule announcement, and the league will disclose the rest of its slate of games on Friday.

What we know for sure is that the NBA is returning to an 82-game schedule. Last season was 72 games as the league cut things short by a month because the 2019-20 season dragged out until October in the bubble at Disney World.  

The season will run from Oct. 19, 2021, to April 10, 2022, followed by the play-in round for the seventh through 10th seeds and then the start of the conference playoff quarterfinals on April 16.

The NBA has created a problem for Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers fans

The Lakers-Nets game on Christmas night rates as a treat for basketball fans. Barring injuries, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook will take the floor for Los Angeles. Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving will suit up for Brooklyn. As wow factors go, that’s a prime lineup that everyone should enjoy watching, whether in person or on TV.

Unfortunately, fans in Wisconsin face an either/or choice on which resident superstar they’ll be watching in person. That’s because Antetokounmpo and the Bucks tip off against the Celtics at 2:30 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., however, Rodgers leads the Packers against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

Even in light traffic, Green Bay and Milwaukee are close to two hours apart, so no one will be taking in that NFL-NBA doubleheader in person.

Considering that the NFL had already released its 2021 schedule and that a late-December football game could have playoff implications, the NBA earns a technical foul for its scheduling decision.

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