A Holiday Tradition: ESPN & ABC Combine to Exclusively Televise All Five NBA Christmas Day Games

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A Holiday Tradition: ESPN & ABC Combine to Exclusively Televise All Five NBA Christmas Day Games

 LeBron James & Los Angeles Lakers vs. Kawhi Leonard & LA Clippers in Primetime Blockbuster on ABC & ESPN

  • Unparalleled Lineup of NBA Commentators to Document Christmas 2019
  • NBA Countdown to Tip Off ABC’s Christmas Coverage; The Jump to Make its ABC on-site Pregame Show Debut at Staples Center
  • Hoop StreamsFirst on-site Christmas Show Prior to Lakers vs. Clippers; Special Edition of First Take Leads Into Five-Game Slate
  • Players Mic’d Up, Exclusive Sit-down Interviews with NBA Stars

A holiday tradition continues on Wednesday, December 25, when ESPN and ABC combine to exclusively televise all five NBA Christmas Day games amidst 15 consecutive hours of event and studio coverage. This year marks the 18th straight season of ESPN’s NBA Christmas coverage and it will once again be led by an unparalleled lineup of play-by-play voices, analysts and reporters across platforms. All games and shows will also stream via the ESPN App.

Games and commentators

One of the most anticipated games of the regular season will highlight this season’s Christmas slate as LeBron James and the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers will host Kawhi Leonard and the current no. 2 seed in the West, the LA Clippers, at Staples Center on both ABC and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. The NBA Finals broadcast team of Mike Breen and analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will provide commentary with Lisa Salters reporting.

The Lakers vs. Clippers game will culminate an ABC tripleheader that begins at 2:30 p.m. when Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks visit Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in a battle of the current top two seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. Dave Pasch will call the game with analyst Doris Burke and reporter Tom Rinaldi. At 5 p.m., on ABC, James Harden and the Houston Rockets visit Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors with Mark Jones, analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Israel Gutierrez calling the action.

ESPN will bookend the five-game Christmas slate starting at 12 p.m. when Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics visit the defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors and Kyle Lowry. Adam Amin will provide commentary with analyst Richard Jefferson along with reporter and Toronto native Ariel Helwani.  In the nightcap, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets host Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans. The team of Ryan Ruocco, analyst Chauncey Billups and reporter Jorge Sedano will call the action.

ESPN NBA officiating expert Steve Javie will also contribute analysis to select games from the NBA Replay Center. Additionally, various star players will be mic’d up throughout the five-game Christmas slate.

ESPN’s Christmas Day NBA game coverage will include a production open starring Grammy Award-winning musician John Legend, who also stars in ESPN’s Christmas marketing campaign “Christmasketball.” To learn more, visit ESPN Press Room.

Pregame platforms

NBA Countdown, hosted by Maria Taylor, will tip off ABC’s Christmas coverage at 2 p.m. with a 30-minute show prior to the Celtics vs. Raptors game. This marks the first NBA Christmas for the new NBA Countdown team. Analysts Jalen Rose and Jay Williams, along with ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, will join Taylor on the set. Taylor’s sit-down interview with Giannis Antetokounmpo will air in full on NBA Countdown and throughout ESPN’s Christmas coverage. In the interview, Antetokounmpo discusses how he would guard himself, among other topics.

Later in the day, The Jump – hosted by Rachel Nichols – will debut its ABC on-site pregame show from 7:30-8 p.m. at Staples Center leading into the Lakers vs. Clippers broadcast. NBA Champions Paul Pierce and Scottie Pippen will join Nichols courtside for the one-hour show. Nichols’ sit-down interview with Clippers star Paul George will air throughout ESPN’s Christmas coverage, including on The Jump. In the interview, George discusses playing on Christmas in his hometown for the first time.

Hoop StreamsESPN’s digital NBA pregame show – will make its Christmas debut at Staples Center from 7:30-8 p.m. preceding the Lakers vs. Clippers broadcast. The show will emanate from inside the Staples Center, featuring host Cassidy Hubbarth and analysts Kendrick Perkins and Amin Elhassan. Hoop Streams is available on the ESPN App and ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms.

A special Christmas edition of ESPN’s First Take will air from 10-12 p.m. Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim will preview the full Christmas Day slate.

ESPN Radio will also broadcast an NBA Christmas Day doubleheader. Sean Kelley and analyst P.J. Carlesimo will describe the Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors game, while Marc Kestecher and analyst Jon Barry will call the Los Angeles Lakers vs. LA Clippers broadcast. Every NBA Christmas Day game will also be televised by ESPN Deportes.

Time (ET) Telecast Commentators Platform(s)
10 a.m. First Take Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, Molly Qerim ESPN, ESPN App,
12 p.m. Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors Adam Amin, Richard Jefferson, Ariel Helwani ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes
2 p.m. NBA Countdown Maria Taylor, Jalen Rose, Jay Williams, Adrian Wojnarowski ABC, ESPN App
2:30 p.m. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Dave Pasch, Doris Burke, Tom Rinaldi ABC, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes
5 p.m. Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Mark Jones, Hubie Brown, Israel Gutierrez ABC, ESPN App, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes
7:30 p.m. The Jump Rachel Nichols, Paul Pierce, Scottie Pippen ABC, ESPN App
Hoop Streams Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan ESPN App, ESPN Twitter, ESPN YouTube
8 p.m. LA Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters ABC, ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes
10:30 p.m. New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets Ryan Ruocco, Chauncey Billups, Jorge Sedano ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes

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Ben Cafardo

I lead communications strategy and execution for ESPN’s NBA, MLB, FIBA and Little League World Series properties. I’m also a proud consumer of all things ESPN.
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