Playing on Christmas Day in the NBA is a big deal, and that’s not lost on Steve Kerr.
It’s the league’s biggest day in the regular season, and the Golden State Warriors have played on Dec. 25 for nearly a decade straight now. They’ll take on the Phoenix Suns on Saturday in what should be a great battle between perhaps the two best teams in the Western Conference.
But for the first time during that nine-year stretch of Christmas games, the Warriors will have to play consecutive road games. That, Kerr said Thursday, isn’t fair to anyone involved.
"Generally, I like playing on Christmas," Kerr said, via ESPN. "It's exciting. I love playing at home on Christmas. That way you can still have a good family day Christmas morning with the kids and then go to the arena later. It's tough being on the road for Christmas, but it's part of being in the NBA.
"It is an honor to play on Christmas — it's a showcase and everybody's watching — but I do think there should be a rule in the NBA that you can't be on the road two years in a row. Just making that clear. Because last year we were in Milwaukee and this year we'll be in Phoenix, and that doesn't seem right."
Now, Kerr’s logic makes a lot of sense. Being on the road for a Christmas Day game almost completely eliminates any chance of being able to celebrate the holiday on time with families.
On the flip side, though, the Warriors did have a three-year stretch where they played at home on Christmas Day in Oakland.
Still, since they’re not playing the defending champions, Warriors star Draymond Green is right with Kerr.
"I have a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old. I want to spend some time at home with my kids, too,” Green said, via ESPN. “We're not playing against a defending champion. If we're playing against a defending champion, you understand, but we're not. And it's a bit frustrating to have to go on the road a second year in a row. So now I [missed] my daughter's first Christmas, and I'll miss her second one. It's kind of f***ed up. But it's the reality. That's what we're faced with.
"You have to go do your job, but we're human beings, too. So like I said, I missed her first one and I'll miss her second one. I can't explain that to her. So it sucks. We're not robots, we're not machines. We're actual human beings with actual feelings, with actual families."
Regardless, the Warriors will be playing in downtown Phoenix on Saturday afternoon in the third of five games across the league on Christmas Day.
Though it’s still too early to know what next year’s schedule will look like, Kerr has a good feeling that things will work out in their favor.
“I’m confident that next year we will be at home for Christmas,” Kerr said jokingly, via ESPN. “Or we will all protest and not show up.”