In the opening video of an ongoing series in celebration of the league’s 75th anniversary, NBA players & coaches reflect on their first memory of the game’s biggest stage — and for some, Christmas Day is when the stars & lights shined the brightest.
[JINGLE BELLS RINGING]
TYRONN LUE: The earliest and vivid memory of the NBA when I was a child, I would say, a Christmas game.
- Christmas Day in Madison Square Garden has become a tradition, and today it's the Boston Celtics who invade the New York Knicks.
- Grunfeld on Bird. Ha ha ha.
- Parish having a fine afternoon.
TYRONN LUE: I just remember they were down 25 points and came back and beat Boston on Christmas Day.
- Ewing over Parish, and the Knicks lead 101 to 99.
TYRONN LUE: That would be one of my fond memories.
- The Knicks win in a stunning upset. They were down by 25 points and they came back. And this is going to be one of the big comebacks we have seen in many a year.
KENRICH WILLIAMS: It was Lebron's first time playing on Christmas, his rookie year.
- LeBron with a floater that's good.
- It's remarkable. LeBron James just 18 years old.
KENRICH WILLIAMS: They played the Magic. My mom bought me a LeBron jersey, and my brother, he got the T-Mac, the Tracy McGrady. So that's what I remember.
- McGrady. Throw it down, baby.
- LeBron James. There's McGrady guarding him. Oh my goodness! Tracy McGrady turns back and smiles.
- McGrady tough 3. [INAUDIBLE]. And McGrady looks at James with a little point of the finger.
- Oh ho ho.
- McGrady 41.
- An amazing game on Christmas Day. We're happy we could give you this gift.
JOSH GREEN: The coolest NBA memory before I even moved to America or anything was Christmas Day game.
- Welcome to Christmas Day in Los Angeles. We've got the Lakers and the Heat.
JOSH GREEN: We got to watch Kobe Bryant play against LeBron James at the Staples Center, right at the top of it in the nosebleeds. It was awesome. It was like one of those experiences where I'll never forget.
- Bryant. Tough shot. Banks it in. That was a difficult angle. [INAUDIBLE] Just looking. Fires for three. That's good as the shot clock expires.
JOSH GREEN: Every single time I go to the Staples Center that's the first thing I remember.
ERIC PASCHALL: My most vivid NBA moment is probably the Warriors-Cavs Christmas game a few years back. That was a great Christmas game and very exciting.
- Irving the drive. Back to James. Cavaliers lead.
- Curry for three. Golden State leads by 3 with 1:14 remaining.
- Here comes Irving. Irving spins. Puts up the shot. It's good! Kyrie Irving with 3.4 remaining. What a comeback from the Cavaliers. Down 14 here in the fourth quarter.
ERIC PASCHALL: So being able to play on Christmas, and possibly do that, is a great feeling for me.