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Over 35 players are in COVID protocols before the NBA Christmas Day games, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Luka Doncic and Trae Young.
While the NFL has its annual Thanksgiving tradition of football, the NBA celebrates the holidays every year with its own Christmas Day slate of games.
On Dec. 25, the NBA will be hosting a Christmas Day lineup for the 14th year in a row — even though critical starts like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Luka Doncic and Trae Young will all be sidelined with COVID.
COVID is set to drastically shape NBA Christmas Day games
As of now, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is adamant that the show must go on, meaning that the Christmas Day spectacle is still set for Saturday as planned.
“No plans right now to pause the season,” Silver said. “We’ve looked at all the options, but frankly, We’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now.”
Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom, who is one of the players expected to suit up for Christmas Day against the Bucks, believes the season should be paused amid the surge in COVID cases.
With so many players out, there has been a frenzy to sign new players to the league — or older players that usually wouldn’t be able to keep up.
As much as missed shot compilations are making the rounds, NBA teams sacked by COVID are indeed making surprising free agent signings. The Mavericks signed Carlik Jones after the Doncic/Burke news broke.
Meanwhile, the Celtics signed Joe Johnson, who was drafted by the team 20 years ago.
And, in no surprise, the COVID outbreak did not miss Kyrie Irving, who ironically was being brought in to help the Nets play on road games because of their roster’s COVID outbreak. Rolling Stone’s Matt Sullivan dubbed the present moment as “The NBA’s War on Omicron Christmas.”
The NBA is fighting a losing battle against the elusive virus as the Christmas Day games could easily become five superspreader events that endanger fans and players alike over the holidays.