Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Five NBA games to be played on Christmas Day/Night

I briefly referenced the NBA's unprecedented, Christmas quintupleheader in my newspaper column, but here's the full schedule:

Orlando vs. New Orleans, ESPN, 12 p.m.

Phoenix vs. San Antonio, ABC, 2:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston, ABC, 5 p.m.

Cleveland vs. Washington, TNT, 8 p.m.

Portland vs. Dallas, TNT, 10:30 p.m.

I'm no expert on Christmas, but this seems to be a bit much, no? I mean, aren't people supposed to be eating goose or drinking mulled wine or something?

Magic Johnson said last week that he didn't mind Christmas games: “I loved it, and it didn’t matter if we were on the road or not. Just give me the basketball in my hand, and everybody watching me? Oh, man. We were the featured game. I loved it. It’s the best time because there’s only a couple of teams playing. It’s fantastic.”

(Of course, now there are more than "a couple of teams playing." There are 10, to be exact.)

Lakers coach Phil Jackson, meanwhile, complained about the schedule leading up to the big Christmas showdown, calling it a "gimmick game."

Click below for a compilation from the NBA comparing 2008 to the last time the Celts and Lakers met on Dec. 25, which was in 1970.THEN: Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year: Boston Bruins Defenseman Bobby Orr

NOW: Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps

THEN: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, the famous stop motion caption Christmas television special featuring the voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Paul Frees and Robie Lester debuts.

NOW: A Miser Brothers Christmas, a spinoff of the 1973 special The Year Without a Santa Claus, which featured the characters Heat Miser and Snow Miser, airs on ABC Family.

THEN: ABC's All My Children completes its first year starring Susan Lucci as Erica Kane

NOW: All My Children completes its 39th year starring Emmy Award-winner Susan Lucci as Erica Kane.

THEN: The Beatles release their 12th and final album, Let It Be.

NOW: Britney Spears releases her comeback album, Circus.

THEN: Top Christmas Toys - Tonka Toys, Clackers (Klik Klaks), Katie Kopycat writing doll

NOW: Wii, Guitar Hero, Kid Tough Digital Camera from Fisher Price

THEN: James Brolin stars in the Emmy Award-winning series, Marcus Welby, M.D.

NOW: Josh Brolin stars in the Academy Award-winning film, No Country for Old Men.

THEN: 8 Track Car Stereo - $38.99.

NOW: iPod Nano $149.

THEN: Average cost of new car - $3,900.00.

NOW: $28,715.

THEN: CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite

NOW: CBS Evening News With Katie Couric

THEN: California Governor: former actor Ronald Reagan

NOW: California Governor: former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger

THEN: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Olympia

NOW: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor

THEN: U.S. President Richard Nixon signs a measure lowering the voting age to 18 (June 10, 1970).

NOW: 64 percent of 18-24 year-olds vote for first time when they participate in the Barack Obama-John McCain presidential election.

THEN: Movies starring Lakers enthusiast Jack Nicholson: The Rebel Rousers, Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge

NOW: Movies featuring Celtics fan Mark Wahlberg: The Happening, Max Payne.


THEN: The Lakers' Big Three: Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich face the Celtics' Big Three: John Havlicek, Dave Cowens and Jo Jo White.

NOW: The Lakers' Big Three: Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol meet the Celtics' Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

THEN: Six future Naismith Hall of Famers participate in the contest including the Lakers' Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Gail Goodrich of the Lakers and the Celtics' John Havlicek and Dave Cowens, as well as head coach Tom Heinsohn.

NOW: This year's series will feature five potential Hall of Fame inductees, including the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and the Celtics' Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and one current member, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.

THEN: Phil Jackson is a member of the NBA defending champion New York Knicks.

NOW: Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is a Hall of Famer, who has 11 championship rings including two as a player (Knicks: 1970, 1973) and nine as a head coach (Chicago Bulls: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998; Lakers: 2000, 2001, 2002).

THEN: Olympic gold medalists: Jerry West of the Lakers (1960) and Jo Jo White of the Celtics (1968)

NOW: Kobe Bryant of the Lakers (2008)

THEN: Books to Read: Take It All! by Phil Jackson with George Kalinsky

NOW: 32 Ways To Be A Champion in Business by Magic Johnson

THEN: Combined NBA Titles: 16 (Lakers: 5, Celtics 11)

NOW: 34 (Lakers 14, Celtics 16)

THEN: Venue: The Forum

NOW: The Staples Center

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