NBA Christmas Day

NBA Christmas Day 2019: Best superstar Christmas Day debuts ever

LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Dwyane Wade
LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Dwyane Wade on their Christmas Day debuts. (NBA Getty Images)

On Christmas Day of the 2019-20 season, the NBA will see three 2019 All-Stars making their debut - Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, and Nikola Jokic.

For Lowry's Toronto Raptors and Jokic's Denver Nuggets, it's been a while since they played on this holiday at home. While the Nuggets last hosted a Christmas Day game in 1994, this season's holiday game will be the first hosted by the Toronto franchise.

However, before we look ahead, let's take a look back at some of the greatest Christmas Day debuts by the league's greatest stars:

Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors - 1959

Stat Line: 45 points, 34 rebounds vs. Syracuse Nationals (129-121, W)

Given the godly numbers, Wilt has put up over the course of his 14-year career, it should come as no surprise that this isn't Wilt's greatest Christmas Day performance.

However, his stat line is incredible for a rookie. Not to mention the fact that these numbers resulted in a win.

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals - 1960

Stat Line: 32 points, 16 assists, and 15 rebounds vs. Detroit Pistons (126-119, W)

Oscar Robertson became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the 1961-62 season but he came really close even in his rookie year (1960-61). As a rookie, Robertson averaged 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists, so it should come as no surprise that he registered a triple-double on his Christmas Day debut in his rookie season.

Let alone the fact, that it came in a win.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks - 1971

Stat Line: 38 points vs Detroit Pistons (120-118, L OT)

Coming off a year where he won the league MVP, the NBA title and the Finals MVP award (1970-71 season), nobody could stop Kareem from playing in the following Christmas.

Larry Bird, Boston Celtics - 1980

Stat Line: 28 points vs New York Knicks (117-108, W)

En route to leading the Celtics to a championship in 1981, Larry Bird made his Christmas Day debut that season.

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers - 1981

Stat Line: 18 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals vs Phoenix Suns (104-101, W)

Despite a Finals MVP performance as a rookie in the 1980 NBA Finals, Magic Johnson only made his Christmas Day debut in his third season.

Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks - 1985

Stat Line: 32 points, 11 rebounds vs Boston Celtics (113-104, W 2OT)

In 1985, Patrick Ewing was making his Christmas Day debut as a rookie and not only did he impress with his double-double but he did so in a 25-point double-overtime come-from-behind win against the defending Eastern Conference champions - the Boston Celtics at the Madison Square Garden.

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls - 1986

Stat Line: 30 points, 6 steals, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks vs New York Knicks (86-85, L)

Arguably the greatest player ever, Michael Jordan played his first Christmas Day debut in his second season against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. Despite putting up a stellar box score, Jordan and the Bulls came up short by one point.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets - 1993

Stat Line: 27 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals vs Phoenix Suns (91-111, L)

Hakeem Olajuwon is only of four players to ever recorded a quadruple-double and between 1993 and 1995, he was in the form of his life. His stat line against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day in 1993 shows the same.

Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic - 2000

Stat Line: 43 points, 9 rebounds vs. Indiana Pacers (103-93, L)

After three seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Tracy McGrady made his Christmas Day debut in his first season with the Orlando Magic but unfortunately, he only finished on the losing side against the reigning Eastern Conference Champions - the Indiana Pacers.

Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, 2001

Stat Line: 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists vs. Los Angeles Lakers (88-82, L)

Coming off facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 Finals, it was time for a rematch for Allen Iverson on Christmas Day in 2001. Despite putting up 31 points, AI finished on the losing side.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks - 2003

Stat Line: 31 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks vs. Sacramento Kings (111-103, W)

Everybody knew Dirk Nowitzki could score, especially by 2003 but have a look at the all-round stat line that Nowitzki puts up the very competitive Sacramento Kings (coming off 5 straight Playoff appearances including the Conference Finals in 2002).

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers - 2003

Stat Line: 34 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals vs. Orlando Magic (101-113, L)

Like few of the many league's legends, LeBron made his Christmas Day debut as a rookie and his showdown with T-Mac did not disappoint.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat - 2004

Stat Line: 29 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals vs. Los Angeles Lakers (104-102 OT, W)

Although the headlines for Christmas Day in 2004 were all about Shaquille O'Neal making his return to Los Angeles as a member of the Miami Heat but a sophomore Dwyane Wade made sure everybody took notice.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans - 2015

Stat Line: 29 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks vs. Miami Heat (94-88 OT, L)

Coming off his first Playoff appearance in 2015, Davis followed that up with a Christmas Day debut in his fourth season. In typical Davis fashion, he stuffed the stat sheet but unfortunately, it came in an overtime loss in Miami.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks - 2018

Stat Line: 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists vs. New York Knicks (109-95, W)

The Greek Freak didn't disappoint on his Christmas Day debut. He put on a show at the Mecca of basketball - Madison Square Garden - in a comfortable win for the Bucks.

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