The 2020-21 NBA season begins Tuesday, December 23, tipping off with nine nationally televised games across the first three days of play. Packed with drama, thrilling rivalries and unique personalities, the NBA will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages during the First Half of the season.
Coinciding with NBA Tip-Off 2020, the NBA is encouraging fans around the world to join the action by sporting their favorite NBA jersey on Dec. 23 as part of the first “NBA Jersey Day” – a global fan celebration of the new season.
Here are some numbers highlighting NBA Tip-Off 2020:
Opening Night: Wednesday, Dec. 23
In the opening-night doubleheader, the Golden State Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the LA Clippers.
· 1 – Opening night features four players who were selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft: the Lakers’ LeBron James (2003) and Anthony Davis (2012), the Nets’ Kyrie Irving (2011) and the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins (2014).
· 2 – Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, set for his first regular-season game since the 2018-19 season, won two NBA championships and two Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP awards with Golden State.
· 3 – 2019-20 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award winner Montrezl Harrell makes his Lakers debut against the Clippers, the team with whom he spent the previous three seasons.
· 5 – Steve Nash, who led the NBA in assists five times as a Hall of Fame player, makes his debut as an NBA head coach when he leads Brooklyn against Golden State.
· 17 – The Lakers will celebrate last season’s record-tying 17th NBA championship before facing the Clippers.
· 18 – James begins his 18th NBA season on opening night.
· 20 – During the First Half of the season, 20 games will air in primetime in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of the league’s “NBA Saturdays and NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K21” primetime initiative.
· 25 – TNT will present an opening-night doubleheader for the 25th consecutive season, marking Turner Sports’ 37th straight year of NBA coverage.
· 50 – Davis and Irving are the last two players to score 50 points in the first game of a season for their team: Davis with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016 and Irving with Brooklyn in 2019.
· 2016 – In 2016, new Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was in his first season as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he led James and the Cavaliers to the NBA championship.
· 2,495 – Golden State’s Stephen Curry has made 2,495 career three-pointers, five away from becoming the third player in NBA history with 2,500.
Thursday, Dec. 24
The Boston Celtics host the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks visit the Phoenix Suns.
· 6 – Boston has qualified for the NBA Playoffs in each of the last six seasons, including Eastern Conference Finals appearances in three of the last four seasons.
· 7 – Chris Paul, who will make his Suns debut Dec. 24, ranks seventh in NBA history in both career assists and career steals.
· 8 – The Suns won all eight “seeding games” during the 2019-20 season restart, the only one of the 22 participating teams to go undefeated.
· 17 – Dallas’ Luka Dončić led the NBA with 17 triple-doubles last season.
· 25 – Two-time reigning Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee is one of three players to win multiple MVP awards by the age of 25, joining James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Friday, Dec. 25
The 73rd edition of the NBA on Christmas Day features – Pelicans at Miami Heat, Warriors at Bucks, Nets at Celtics, Mavericks at Lakers and Clippers at Denver Nuggets.
· 4 – The four Conference Finalists from last season will be in action on Christmas Day: the Lakers and Nuggets from the Western Conference and the Heat and Celtics from the Eastern Conference.
· 5 – Five Kia NBA MVPs will compete on Christmas Day: the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo, the Warriors’ Curry, the Nets’ Durant, the Lakers’ James and Nets head coach Nash.
· 6 – Six players have recorded a triple-double in a game on Christmas Day: Draymond Green (2017), Russell Westbrook (2013), James (2010), Billy Cunningham (1970), John Havlicek (1967) and Oscar Robertson (1960, 1961, 1963, 1967).
· 7 – Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra has won all seven of his Christmas Day games as an NBA head coach, tied with Les Harrison for the most wins without a loss.
· 10 – Dwyane Wade has the most Christmas Day victories for a player with 10 – one more than James and Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who are tied for second place with nine each.
· 13 – The NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day for the 13th year in a row.
· 15 – James will play his 15th Christmas Day game, second most in NBA history behind Kobe Bryant (16).
· 19 – This marks ESPN’s 19th season of Christmas Day game coverage.
· 23 – The Lakers have the most wins on Christmas Day with 23.
· 25 – As part of NBA Cares Season of Giving, the league is highlighting across its digital platforms the efforts of 25 community organizations supporting health and wellness, food security, education, volunteerism and social justice work in communities around the world.
· 35 – This year marks the 35th anniversary of the classic 1985 Christmas Day game when rookie Patrick Ewing (32 points, 11 rebounds) and the New York Knicks rallied from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics 113-104 in double overtime.
· 43.3 – Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady averaged an NBA-record 43.3 points on Christmas Day, scoring at least 40 points in all three of his games.
· 60 – Bernard King scored a Christmas Day-record 60 points for the Knicks against the New Jersey Nets in 1984.
· 98 – Of the players on the current rosters of the 10 teams playing on Christmas Day, 27 have been named to an NBA All-Star team and they have combined for 98 All-Star selections.
· 215 – Christmas Day games will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 56 languages.
· 361 – James ranks third on the career Christmas Day scoring list with 361 points, behind No. 1 Bryant (395) and No. 2 Robertson (377).
· 1947 – The NBA began playing games on Christmas Day in 1947 during the league’s second season.