Will the Charlotte Hornets Ever Get to Play on Christmas Day?
Will the Charlotte Hornets ever feature in a Christmas Day game? The question continues to be unanswered as another season past without them taking part.
With another set of holiday games behind us, yet another year past without the Charlotte Hornets being featured. The fact of the matter is, the Hornets are only one of two teams in the NBA to never appear in a Christmas Day game. Along with the Memphis Grizzlies, both sides having missed out on the holiday festivities every single year.
Despite being an up and coming team with recent success, Charlotte has never been a favorite for NBA schedule makers. The league has played games on Christmas Day since 1947 and since joining the NBA in 1988, the Hornets have not featured in a game on the holiday. It is pretty crazy that the team has never had the honor of gracing the court on Christmas.
By looking at the team who played this season, a few are always locks to play like the Los Angeles Lakers, the New York Knicks, and whoever LeBron James plays for. Currently, the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs are all locks because of their continued success. But other sides like the Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves are questionable at best.
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Obviously, the NBA cares about the market value of the teams playing on Christmas Day because the Lakers and Knicks are both not as good as the Hornets but they still get placed on the schedule every year. They also want entertainment which is why Russell Westbrook and Lob City in LA are booked. But why are the Bulls and the T-Wolves there over say the Houston Rockets, the Toronto Raptors, or even the Hornets?
That is a good question that doesn’t have a definite answer. The more important question is if Charlotte will ever feature in a Christmas Day game.
Just by odds, they will surely get one at some point but the organization and the fans deserve one sooner rather than later. The Hornets might not have the star power of other team but they do have Kemba Walker who is likely going to be an all-star this season so that checks the box for a star-levelish player. Charlotte has made the playoffs in two of the last three season and is currently one of the top four team in the East, That checks another box.
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If the team isn’t featured in next year’s Christmas Day schedule, it wouldn’t be surprising because the NBA has never sided with them in previous seasons, but it would be disappointing. The league finally decided to start giving the Hornets a few nationally televised games this after not having any last season. That’s a step in the right direction and while many argue that Charlotte’s market is too small or that they aren’t fun to watch, those people are completely wrong.
Not a lot of fans from around the world know about the Hornets but that’s because the NBA has neglected them in terms of branding and exposure with the lack of nationally televised games. Give them a Christmas Day game and people will start talking more because they are a growing franchise. They are fun to watch with Kemba and company embracing a new style of play over recent years. The league just has to give Charlotte a shot.
After years of neglect, the Charlotte Hornets are deserving of a Christmas Day game. A strong showing for the remainder of the season, Walker making an all-star team, and advancing past the first round in the playoffs will help them secure a spot in the holiday festivities next year. Only time will tell if the NBA will finally leave behind struggling teams in favor of the Grizzlies (because they deserve one too) and the Hornets.