NBA Christmas Day

NBA Christmas Day 2019: How NBA legends have performed on Christmas Day

Shaquille O'Neal [NBA Getty Images]

Leading up to one of the biggest dates on the NBA schedule, we're covering some of the biggest moments, performances and rivalries on NBA Christmas Day.

Today, we're taking a look at how some of the NBA's legends have fared on Christmas.

Larry Bird

Record: 1-2

Averages: 19.7 points (32.4% FG, 50.0% 3FG, 88.9% FT), 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists (only two of three games counted rebounds, assists, FGA and FGM)

Best performance: 28 points in win vs. New York Knicks (1980)

Fun fact: Oddly enough for being one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Bird does not rank in the top five in any major statistical category on Christmas Day, both per game average or total. Granted, he only participated in three games on the holiday.

Kobe Bryant

Record: 6-10

Averages: 24.7 points (40.8% FG, 24.2% 3FG, 81.5% FT), 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.1 steals

Best performance: 38 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals in win vs. Phoenix Suns (2007)

Fun fact: Kobe Bryant is the all-time leader in games played on Christmas Day with 16. He has the all-time record for total points on the holiday with 395. The next closest active player is LeBron James with 321 points. He is also second all-time in total assists on Christmas with 85, though he will likely be passed by James, who has 82, this year.

Wilt Chamberlain

Record: 5-1

Averages: 31.7 points (55.4% FG, 48.9% FT), 25.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists

Best performance: 59 points, 36 rebounds in loss vs. New York Knicks (1961)

Fun fact: Chamberlain's 36 rebounds are the most on Christmas Day in NBA history. His 59 points held as the scoring record on Christmas Day for 23 years and his 25.3 rebounds per game on the holiday is the highest all-time average.

Magic Johnson

Record: 1-1

Averages: 18.0 points (41.4% FG, 50.0% 3FG, 100% FT), 9.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds

Best performance: 18 points, eight assists, five rebounds in win vs. Phoenix Suns (1981)

Fun fact: Like his counterpart Larry Bird, Magic does not rank in the top five in any major statistical category on Christmas Day for both totals and average. In his defence, he only participated in two games on the holiday.

Michael Jordan

Record: 5-1

Averages: 28.3 points (44.3% FG, 9.1% 3PT, 76.3% FT), 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals

Best performance: 42 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals in win vs. New York Knicks (1992)

Fun fact: Jordan's six steals on Christmas Day in 1986 were tied for the most steals in a game on Christmas for 30 years until Kyrie Irving recorded seven steals in 2016.

Tracy McGrady

Record: 2-1

Averages: 43.3 points (48.8% FG, 43.8% 3PT, 49.6% FT), 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks

Best performance: 41 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, three steals in win vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2003)

Fun fact: McGrady's 43.3 points per game is the all-time leading scoring average of anyone who's played more than two games on Christmas Day. The next closest is Jerry West, who averaged 32.2 points over six games.

Shaquille O'Neal

Record: 6-7

Averages: 20.9 points (53.3% FG, 50.0% FT), 11.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.9 blocks

Best performance: 32 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, two assists in win vs. San Antonio Spurs (1999)

Fun fact: Shaq is the all-time total blocks leader on Christmas Day with 25. The next closest active players are DeAndre Jordan (19) and Dwight Howard (18). Shaq is also tied for second in all-time games played on Christmas with 13, third all-time in total rebounds with 155 and top-five in scoring with 272 points.

Oscar Robertson

Record: 8-4

Averages: 31.4 points (46.9% FG, 91.9% FT), 13.1 assists, 8.6 rebounds (four of 12 games did not account for FGA, three games did not count assists)

Best performance: 40 points, 17 assists, 12 rebounds in loss vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1961)

Fun fact: Robertson is the all-time total assists leader on Christmas Day with 145 assists. That is 60 more than the next closest player, Kobe Bryant. The next closest active player is LeBron James, who has 82 assists on the holiday.

Robertson is also second all-time in total points with 377 and one of six players to ever record a triple-double on Christmas - but he's the only player to do it multiple times (4).

Bill Russell

Record: 6-2

Averages: 15.9 points (61.1% FT), 22.0 rebounds (only three games counted FGA and assists)

Best performance: 32 points and 33 rebounds in win vs. New York Knicks (1958)

Fun fact: Three of the five top rebounding performances on Christmas Day are held by Russell. His 176 rebounds are the most all-time on Christmas Day with no active player anywhere near that mark.

Dwyane Wade

Record: 10-3

Averages: 24.2 points (45.8% FG, 36.4% 3FG, 76.2% FT), 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals

Best performance: 40 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, four steals, four blocks in win vs. Dallas Mavericks (2006)

Fun fact: D-Wade has the most wins on Christmas Day in NBA history. LeBron is the next-closest active player with nine. Wade is third in all-time steals and fourth in all-time points and assists on Christmas Day.

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