For most Americans, the holidays are a time to take off work and celebrate with your family. A large number of Americans will also enjoy the sporting events being broadcasted across the entire country.
But, while we fans sit back on holidays with a plate of turkey or maybe a glass of eggnog and watch our favorite teams play, these athletes are flying to the other side of the country to spend the holidays thousands of miles away from their families.
This year, the Golden State Warriors will play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day for the third straight year. LeBron James will be playing in his twelfth Christmas Day game since he entered the league in 2003. Since the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in the NBA finals last year, the Cavaliers will have to make the trip to the west coast to play the Warriors in this year’s Christmas Day game.
“I won’t be with my family on Christmas, unfortunately,” James told ESPN. “So, no, we have no traditions. If I can get a home game on Christmas, then we’ll have a tradition.”
Retired Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh recalled a Christmas he once spent on the road.
“I was in L.A. and it was the most boring-est Christmas ever. It was just boring,” Bosh told ESPN. “After the game, it was like nowhere is open to eat, nowhere to go on the road.”
NBA players aren’t the only athletes that are forced to spend the holidays away from their families. This year the NFL will have 12 games on Christmas Eve and two on Christmas Day. They also had their famous Thanksgiving Day games as well.
Former NFL linebacker Willie McGinest remembers a time when him and the Patriots spent New Year’s Eve on the road. Not only did they spend that night away from their families, but they also were forced to stay inside the hotel to celebrate.
“I remember one year, when I was with the Patriots and I watched the ball drop while sitting in a hotel, because we had a game the next day” McGinest recalled in his article on NFL.com.
The NBA and NFL’s most popular stars sacrifice time away from their families on national holidays in order to put on a show for sports fans around the world. Next time you sit down with your family to watch these stars play on national television, be sure to take a moment to appreciate the sacrifice these athletes make.