As we approach and prepare for Christmas, one of the most marquee dates for the NBA basketball season, I am still baffled that for whatever reason the Toronto Raptors were once again not placed on the holiday schedule. How many years in a row do you have to prove yourself as a top franchise in not only the conference but the league to be considered? I know it’s not randomized because certain teams seem to be there every year no matter what. For instance, any historic franchise like the Celtics or Knicks and any team that Lebron plays for that season. Let’s take a look at this years Christmas matchups, shall we: 12pm – Bucks @ Knicks (Yep that’s right, the 9-23 Knicks), 3pm – Thunder @ Rockets, 5:30pm – 76ers @ Celtics, 8pm – Lakers @ Warriors, 10:30pm – Blazers @ Jazz. So if you’ve been keeping track, that’s 10 teams, all with worse current records than the Raps with two of those ten teams sitting under 500. Fine, it is not fair to predict this year’s production so let’s take a look at the last few years. During the 2018-2019 season, the Raptors held the second best record in the NBA at 59-23 with only the Houston Rockets ahead of them. They have made the playoffs the last 5 seasons and in those years have ranked 1st in their division 4 times, top 3 in their conference 4 times and top 10 in the league 3 times. Their overall record in those five seasons with the inclusion of this year is an astounding 289-156. The Raptors have been one of the most consistent teams in recent years and yet the NBA continues to disrespect them.
Now, it is time to learn a little NBA Christmas history lesson and understand the bias that comes along with it. The Raptors, since entering the league in 1995, have only been invited to play in 1 Christmas Day matchup which took place back in 2001. This is how the previous appearance counts layout for the current ten teams featured in this year’s matchups: Knicks – 52 (What a joke), Lakers – 43, Celtics – 31, 76ers – 30, Warriors – 27, Thunder – 18, Blazers – 17, Rockets – 10, Jazz – 6 and Bucks – 4. Let’s begin in New York, where the Knicks, although a storied franchise, have not done shit in the last two decades. Obviously the league is oblivious because they have failed to put asses in seats for some time now. Since 2000, the Knicks have only made the playoffs 5 times and only had a winning record 4 of those times. I understand the history behind the city and basketball and all that garbage but a change of scenery couldn’t hurt anyone at this point. I am just trying to figure out what qualifies a team to be considered for an NBA Christmas Day game. I mean the Lakers haven’t had a winning season in the past five years but everyone knows why they’ve got a game. What about the Spurs, they’ve proven to be one of the most consistent teams having not missed the playoffs since the 96-97 season with one of the greatest coaches of all time. What leaves them out of the mix? How in the world did the Jazz get a game? They didn’t make the playoffs in 5 of their last 8 seasons but somehow ended up on the schedule. Don’t even get me started on the Bucks, I mean c’mon. I would just like some sort of fair explanation on the matter. The NBA releases no sort of scheme or connection as to who deserves to make it and who doesn’t. Seven of the ten teams from this years games were on last years slate and five of them were part of the 2016 schedule. There is no reward for impressive or consistent play and the Raptors continue to get snubbed on Christmas Day.
The NBA needs to get a grip and start respecting Toronto for the powerhouse that they have proven to be. This discrimination has gone on for too long and it’s time for the league to recognize the north as a top competitor in today’s market both talent and television viewing wise. I cannot wait to see these five scrubs take the floor in less than a week for a game that has zero meaning to anyone who watches good basketball. Stop boring us with your biases and start appreciating greatness.