As one of the most popular NBA teams in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers are basically guaranteed to be playing on Christmas Day every single season as long as five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant is still on the roster.
With 14 appearances in Christmas Day, Kobe has played in more games on the holiday than any other player in NBA history. The perennial All-Star will make it 15 appearances in the 2012-13 NBA season with the Lakers taking on the New York Knicks on December 25.
Ironically enough, Kobe may have played the most games on this holiday, but the Knicks have the record for most appearances on Christmas Day with 47. Unfortunately for New York, they’ve only won 22 of these 47 games.
The win total of 22 is a record for the most wins on the holiday despite the 25 losses.
As a way to stir the pot for the highly anticipated game with fellow Team USA teammates Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, Kobe said the following via Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
“We actually might win on Christmas Day for the first time ever,” Bryant says.
It’s no secret that the Lakers haven’t played well on Christmas Day over the past few years. There’s always a lot of hype heading into these highly anticipated games with the league’s top teams facing off, but the Lakers have dropped the ball with some disappointing losses.
The last time that that Lakers actually won a game on December 25 was back in 2008 against the arch rival Boston Celtics. Since then, the Lakers have lost three years in a row against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
In 2012, the Lakers will go head-to-head against Melo’s squad with a new-look for both teams. With Linsanity over in the Big Apple, the Knicks will turn to Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd in the backcourt. As for the Lakers, Steve Nash will be leading the way at point guard with Dwight Howard potentially in the frontcourt.
Regardless of the Lakers’ recent history in these holiday games in December, things may change in the team’s favor this year with the boys in purple and gold looking to turn it around against an unproven Knicks squad.