The Sports Christmas Tradition: ESPN & ABC Combine to Exclusively Televise All Five NBA Christmas Day Games on Friday, December 25


The Sports Christmas Tradition: ESPN & ABC Combine to Exclusively Televise All Five NBA Christmas Day Games on Friday, December 25

LeBron James & Los Angeles Lakers vs. Luka Dončić & Dallas Mavericks in Primetime ABC Matchup Featuring Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Rachel Nichols on Commentary

  • NBA Countdown Team to Tip Off ABC’s Christmas Coverage; Maria Taylor Interviews a Returning Steph Curry
  • First Take Leads Into Five-Game Christmas Day Slate
  • ESPN NBA Opening Night Coverage Plans on Wednesday, December 23

ESPN and ABC’s Christmas Day tradition continues for the 19th consecutive season on Friday, December 25, with approximately 13 consecutive hours of live NBA coverage featuring the league’s best teams and most popular stars. ESPN and ABC platforms will combine to televise all five NBA games. All games and shows will also stream via the ESPN App.

The NBA Christmas Day slate tips off on ESPN at 12 p.m. ET when the 2020 Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat, led by Jimmy Butler, host the New Orleans Pelicans, led by Zion Williamson. Play-by-play commentator Ryan Ruocco and analyst Richard Jefferson will provide game commentary from their homes. ESPN reporter Israel Gutierrez will report live from American Airlines Arena. ESPN will bookend Christmas coverage with a rematch of the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals at 10:30 p.m. when the LA Clippers, starring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, visit the Denver Nuggets, starring Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray. Ruocco and Jefferson return to call the matchup with Malika Andrews reporting live from Denver’s Ball Arena.

ABC’s exclusive tripleheader begins at 2:30 p.m. when reigning M.V.P. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks visit returning superstar Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Dave Pasch will provide commentary from Milwaukee with Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Hubie Brown providing analysis from home. Cassidy Hubbarth will provide live reports on site. At 5 p.m., Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving take on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown when the Brooklyn Nets go head-to-head with the Boston Celtics. This marks Irving’s first regular season return to Boston. Veteran ESPN play-by-play commentator Mark Jones will call the action from TD Garden with Curt Gowdy Media Award winning analyst Doris Burke and reporter Ariel Helwani.

The primetime game, beginning at 8 p.m., features the highly-anticipated Western Conference matchup between 2020 Finals M.V.P. LeBron James and the Defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers and NBA All-Star Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA Finals broadcast team of Curt Gowdy Media Award winning play-by-play commentator Mike Breen and analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will be on site to call the action with journalist and sideline reporter Rachel Nichols. This matchup will air on both ESPN and ABC.

NBA Countdown all day

NBA Countdown will tip off ABC’s Christmas coverage at 2 p.m. with host Maria Taylor, analyst Jalen Rose and ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski previewing the ABC slate with a 30-minute show. The show will feature Taylor’s exclusive interview with three-time NBA Champion Steph Curry. The NBA Countdown team will return to ABC at 7:30 p.m. with an additional 30-minture show prior to the primetime Mavericks vs. Lakers game. The team will also provide halftime reports throughout the day.

ESPN’s First Take will air from 10-12 a.m. to preview the full Christmas Day slate with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim Rose.

ESPN Radio will also broadcast a Christmas Day doubleheader beginning at 4:30 p.m. Sean Kelley and analyst P.J. Carlesimo will call the Nets vs. Celtics game and Marc Kestecher and analyst Jon Barry will follow with Mavericks vs. Lakers. 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. New Orleans Pelicans vs. Miami Heat Ryan Ruocco, Richard Jefferson, Israel Gutierrez ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes
2 p.m. NBA Countdown Maria Taylor, Jalen Rose, Adrian Wojnarowski ABC, ESPN App
2:30 p.m. Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks Dave Pasch, Hubie Brown, Cassidy Hubbarth ABC, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes
5 p.m. Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Ariel Helwani ABC, ESPN App, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes
7:30 p.m. NBA Countdown Maria Taylor, Jalen Rose, Adrian Wojnarowski ABC, ESPN App
8 p.m. Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Rachel Nichols ABC, ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes
10:30 p.m. LA Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets Ryan Ruocco, Richard Jefferson, Malika Andrews ESPN, ESPN App, ESPN Deportes

ESPN’s 2020-21 NBA regular season coverage will tip off on Wednesday, December 23, at 10:30 p.m. as the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Dončić visit the Phoenix Suns and Devin Booker. This will mark 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul’s debut as a member of the Suns. Dave Pasch and Mark Jackson will call the action from their homes.

With the kickoff of the 2020-21 NBA season comes a new creative campaign – It’s NBA on ESPN TimeThe first spot, which debuted this week, is a Season Tip-Off Anthem, which helps dramatize and emulate the freshness and positive energy of the NBA. The script and creative usage of still images help pull that drama through, emphasizing the importance of each moment, while the music, “Eat the Rich” by Mark Hadley, provides a movie trailer feeling that drives the suspense of the storylines that this season may bring.

All ESPN and ABC NBA programming is available to stream on the ESPN App.


Shakeemah Simmons-Winter

I am a senior publicist for men’s pro sports, working predominantly with the NBA and FIBA properties. I’m a Jersey City, NJ native, so I cheer for all New York sports and athletes, win or lose. I began my sports career as a small forward for JCPS #9’s elementary basketball team, and then years later gave up my hoop dreams (sort of) to work as the Public Relations Coordinator for the New York Knicks. Prior to working in sports, I briefly worked as an intern turned production assistant for the Wendy Williams Show. I earned a B.A. in Communications from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where I met my husband Matthew, and later attended New York University to earn a M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. I am excited to continue my sports journey with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the sports industry.
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