Holidays with the NBA



The holiday season is a special time of year where you hang with your family, not from the rim. With NBA players busy touring the rest of the time, this holiday season has some extra meaning for them.

“It’s definitely big,” said Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan when we asked him about the holidays. “You want to spend the holidays with your family. Everybody getting out there, eating food, and just enjoying their time together… I think besides all the material things, the holidays [mean] being able to spend your time with your loved ones, no matter if it’s your girlfriend, or anybody. If it’s just one person, [or] twenty people.”


Fellow Raptor Jerryd Bayless agrees. “We have a job that we’re supposed to do,” he says, “but it’s the good time in the season where you can hang out with your family, and just appreciate them.”

We asked Bayless how we can remember those less blessed during the holiday season. He said, “Give back, I think. It’s times like this, during this season, and also when it’s not the holiday season, where you all got to remember to give back. And that’s something that I believe in, and everyone here believes in. We’ve got to continue to do our part and do the best we can.”

And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Basketball as a sport has always brought communities together, and just because you go pro doesn’t mean you stop giving. That’s what makes following the NBA during the holidays so special: the charity work the NBA commits to.

Feed the Children is an organization that works to promote global development and is a movement that is close to Bayless’s heart. “I’ve done some things with them in the past,” he said, “and I will continue to do things with them.”


Chicago is no slouch when it comes to the season of giving. On December 6, the Bulls partnered up with the National Black McDonald’s Operator Association to host a Kids’ Holiday Party at the Museum of Science and Industry. The children went on tour of the museum, where Luol Deng and Derrick Rose were on hand to give gifts to the four hundred children attending.

We asked Deng about his charity work, and he said, “I have the Luol Deng Foundation. I just try to do a lot. In Chicago, I try to do a lot within the community, and in London, I try to do a lot within the community, and internationally, I try to do stuff in Sudan and in Africa in general.”

On the Luol Deng Foundation, he said, “We’re really focused on sports, education and helping people have a better life. Those things are really what matter.”


We asked Deng to choose the best Christmas gift he has ever received. He said, “A pair of shoes… I must have been eight. Eight or nine, around that age… I can’t remember what shoes they were; I just remember I got shoes and I was happy.”

And the worst gift? “The worst has to be cologne. I had to sit down with my family one time and tell them to stop giving me cologne. It felt like every holiday they were giving me cologne and I’m like, man, I’m not running out of cologne.”


Fellow Bull Kyle Korver also feels strongly about the holiday season. “It’s the season of giving,” he said to us. “It’s the season of joy. Life is better when those things are involved.”

So how is Korver going to spend his holidays this year? He said, “Well, we have the game on Christmas, against New York… I’m not going to see my two younger brothers this year, because they both play college basketball, but my parents are going to come out on the 26th when we get back from my road trip, so I’ll get to see them for a few days.”

Korver knows about the season of giving. He has the with the proceeds going to help the school.

“There are ways to go about giving back,” he said to us, “and ways to go about helping [the less fortunate] out, and I think everyone should do that throughout the year but I think especially now.”

How do other NBA teams celebrate the holiday season? Well, they’ve been busy. On December 7th, the Boston Celtics visited Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center, sang carols, painted faces and gave gifts.


Celtic Paul Pierce was quoted as saying, “Every holiday season my teammates and I look forward to spending time with these courageous children. This is a wonderful time of year to give back and it is rewarding to be able to brighten the day for kids who cannot spend the holidays at home with their families.”

It must have been an awesome experience to see stars like Pierce and Rondo singing carols. I’m sure it was a day those kids will never forget.


On December 4th, the Los Angeles Lakers used their practice facility in El Segundo to host the Lakers Holiday Party for Kids. Kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs from around the area got to pose in a shoot with the Lakers team and play basketball with the pros.

This event was part of the Lakers’ “Season of Giving”, described as comprehensive series of community outreach events that allow the Lakers and their fans to share in the joy of the holiday season”.These events include the Holiday Party for Kids, and funding the 2010 December Student & Educator of the Month Awards.

Lakers forward Lamar Odom tells us, “We do a lot of things in our community, where we come from in LA. Whenever we can get some time, we love to do it.”

That’s some holiday spirit right there.

This season, remember what our champions in the NBA are doing to give back and let that inspire you to give wherever you can. We at wish holiday cheer to our readers and to all the NBA teams and players out there who are committed to giving back to the community.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


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