Kobe Bryant is playing the Grinch. Phil Jackson is sounding like Scrooge. And LeBron James isn’t in a Holiday mood either. As usual, all roads lead back to PJ. The ever outspoken coach was quick to condemn the NBA’s Christmas schedule and plenty of discussion has followed since.
Anyone that has ever had to work on a holiday like Christmas can relate. While everyone else is with family and friends in a festive mood, you’re stuck dealing with daily hassles that shouldn’t be endured during such a sacred time. However, if you’re getting paid to do a job and this is what the job entails then there are only two options: Deal with it or find a new line if work.
I do feel where Jackson is coming from. David Stern’s goal is to attract attention to his product when he knows there will be millions of eyes glued to flat screens. By tailoring the schedule to specific key matchups on Christmas day, the NBA has had great success with ratings on these occasions.
The fact of the matter is that this business ideology is in stark contrast to what the holiday is all about. But hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The shelf life of a career in pro sports is short. Most of the men who will play on Saturday will be either retired or on their way out 10 years from now. It’s not like these guys are going to be playing on Christmas day for the next 50 years like so many factory workers across this country.
This is all about entertainment. In the business of entertainment one of the fist rules is that you must sacrifice certain portions of your life for the amusement of others. Not necessarily fair but par for the course.
I’m not saying the players or coaches have no right to voice their opinion. I’m just saying that if the job that pays millions requires giving up a few holidays here and there then so be it.
Where the problem hits home for Stern is when that negative outlook affects the product on the court. That was certainly the case one year ago when the Lakers stunk up Staples. Hopefully this year will be different and the players will want to give the fans a gift. Never forget, the fans that fill those arenas are taking time away from their Holiday too.