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Why are there no NBA games on Thanksgiving?

Why are there no NBA games on Thanksgiving?
Why are there no NBA games on Thanksgiving?

Many fans have noticed that there are no NBA games scheduled for this Thursday (Nov. 24, 2022) as all 30 teams will get the day off. The primary reason is that Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This year will mark the 12th straight year in which there are no games on Thanksgiving.

Now, some might ask why exactly the NBA has no games on a holiday that is exclusive to the US. Considering the NBA is now a globally popular league, the decision could be a bit perplexing. So on that note, here is the most commonly speculated reason why there are no NBA games on Thanksgiving.


The reason why there are no NBA games on Thanksgiving

NFL on Thanksgiving
NFL on Thanksgiving

The primary reason that has been speculated as to why there are no NBA games on Thanksgiving has to do with competition.

The NFL basically has a monopoly on the Thanksgiving schedule as it has become a tradition for sports fans to spend Thanksgiving watching football. This Thanksgiving, the NFL once again has a full slate of three primetime games.

Thankful for 🏈. See you on Thanksgiving. #MaddenThanksgiving https://t.co/BODI4j05MB

Given that the NFL is much further along in its schedule than the NBA, it would be tough for the NBA to compete. The NBA is not even a quarter of the way through its season yet, making the games far less consequential. Plus, there is an unspoken rule among casual NBA fans that the season really begins on Christmas.

The NBA always makes sure to capitalize on this by having a full slate of around five primetime Christmas Day games. Likewise, the NBA also takes advantage of its New Year’s Eve schedule.

I wonder if the NBA will ever play on thanksgiving... I know tradition is NFL and NBA is Christmas but what if the top 4 teams played, would the ratings be that bad??? twitter.com/InsideHoops/st…

So really, the lack of NBA Thanksgiving games really boils down to tradition and mutual respect between two of the major sports leagues. Plus, the NBA has a long 82-game season anyways. So it doesn’t hurt for the league to give its players some extra rest and time to spend with their families.

Also read: "Injuries are piling up across the league" - Brian Windhorst credits NBA star’s injuries for small teams to creep up the rankings

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Other prominent days with no NBA games this season

2023 NBA All-Star Weekend promotion
2023 NBA All-Star Weekend promotion

In regards to other prominent days this season that have no NBA games scheduled, there are a few others. One was Nov. 8, 2022, which was Election Day in the US. After Thanksgiving, the next day off will be on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24, 2022).

The NBA will then have its annual All-Star weekend break from Feb. 17 to Feb. 22, 2023. The last day off will be during the Men's NCAA National Championship Game on April 3, 2023.

Also read: LeBron James Injury Update: LA Lakers star to return from injury on Friday against San Antonio Spurs

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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