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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Logan’s Corner: NBA Christmas jerseys bring fans back in time

Logan+Earle+rewatches+the+2016+Christmas+day+game+on+ESPN+with+the+Golden+State+Warriors+and+Cleveland+Cavaliers.+Each+team+wore+a+special+Christmas+jersey%2C+consisting+of+the+team+name+in+a+wintery+cursive+font.+%28Photo+by+Beth+Earle%29%0A
Beth Earle
Logan Earle rewatches the 2016 Christmas day game on ESPN with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Each team wore a special Christmas jersey, consisting of the team name in a wintery cursive font. (Photo by Beth Earle)

The holiday season brings an excitement factor to many parts of people’s lives. High school students participate in winter and holiday themed spirit days and very similarly, the NBA has winter themed events in their Christmas Day games.  

Every year we see the NFL’s Thanksgiving games, the NHL’s “Winter Classic” games on New Years and best of all, NBA Christmas Day games. Five games are played between noon and 10:30 p.m, with 10 of the best and most popular teams in the league. 

The NBA chooses the teams that will bring in the most attention to the Christmas games. These include the reigning champion, the team with the reigning MVP and the team that LeBron James is on. I’m not joking— LeBron has played on Christmas 17 out of the last 20 years, and will play his 18th game this season.

This year’s Christmas day games will feature the Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns. Every team playing has well-known players, good history or recent success, making the Christmas games more profitable.

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The first time games were played on Christmas was in 1947, the second season in the league’s history. Since then, these games have been some of the most popular and anticipated in the regular season. They have featured some of the highest quality games in recent history such as the Cavaliers vs. Warriors in 2016.

The lack of interest and excitement during the middle of the regular season causes a decline in viewership.

One of the main reasons NBA fans were excited about Christmas day was because the custom jerseys made for each team playing. The teams would have special marketing campaigns based around the custom jerseys and the big named players competing on Christmas. 

When Nike signed a contract in 2017 to become the new jersey distributor over Adidas, they stopped producing Christmas jerseys. Instead of creating jerseys for Christmas, each team would have their own City Edition jersey which would be worn on Christmas instead. These City Edition jerseys are made each season to highlight a factor of culture from the city the teams reside in, or the past history of the team.

The NBA has had a share of good and bad City Edition jerseys since they were first introduced. But since new ones are released yearly, they get boring and repetitive, causing negative opinions from fans, a negative opinion the Christmas jerseys never received. This may be because they were only worn once a year or because of the holiday themes around them. But the now unpopular City Edition jerseys without any holiday theming around them have caused a boring aspect to the Christmas games. 

With the removal of Christmas jerseys also came the end to the corny but entertaining commercials made for them. Some of the commercials made are now seen as ionic or famous sports commercials that are still talked about every holiday season. These commercials would include the players wearing the jersey designed for the specific year, and they would include a combination holiday music and basketball moves.

The most popular was the “Jingle Bells” commercial, where players in their jerseys shoot at hoops with bells on the net. They would shoot in the motion that played the song “Jingle Bells.” It ends with LeBron James dunking on the “Hey” at the end.

LeBron dunking was a common theme during the Christmas game jersey era. Some of these dunks went viral and are replayed constantly through social media and TV. But it is not just LeBron as many NBA players have had iconic moments and games while wearing these jerseys. Players such as Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, John Wall and Dwayne Wade have had their share of iconic moments.

Popular plays might not be well known for the skill or luck shown, but because of the incorporation of the Christmas jersey. They add a sense of nostalgia, especially for fans who were introduced to basketball during the late 2000s and early 2010s. We all remember opening presents Christmas morning and then watching our favorite teams play in these special, one-game-only jerseys.

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About the Contributor
Logan Earle, Staff Writer
Logan is a senior in his second year with The Purple Tide. He is a captain for the Chantilly Swim & Dive team (district champs) and a recreational basketball coach. Outside of organized activities, Logan watches a large amount of sports and shows a large passion for his favorite teams and players. Logan also enjoys listening to music as much as possible, and if you see him, he will probably have an AirPod in one of his ears.
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