Christmas Day is a day for exchanging presents, sitting down with family, and enjoying life. But it’s also a day for sports. While Christmas isn’t quite as prominent on the sporting calendar as Thanksgiving, it does tend to give us some great games across multiple sports. Since Christmas is all about making memories, here are some of our fondest memories from sporting events that took place on Christmas Day.
5. Title-Clinching Comeback (2016)
I think we can all agree that Christmas is always better with a little NFL action, especially a game between bitter rivals. The Steelers and Ravens didn’t disappoint in 2016, as the Ravens flirted with a surprise win, leading 20-10 after three quarters.
However, the Steelers went ahead with two Le’Veon Bell touchdowns, only for Baltimore to strike back to take a 27-24 lead. Alas, Pittsburgh scored a third touchdown in the fourth quarter thanks to Antonio Brown to win 31-27 and clinch the AFC North crown in dramatic fashion.
4. Finals Rematch and Preview (2016)
In 2016, a Christmas Day matchup between the Cavs and Warriors was on the heels of Cleveland’s miraculous 3-1 comeback over Golden State in the NBA Finals the previous summer. In fact, this game was in the middle of the Warriors and Cavs meeting in the Finals in four straight years.
The type was unreal and the game more than lived up to it. The Cavaliers erased a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter behind Kyrie Irving, ultimately winning 109-108 despite 36 points from Kevin Durant. Alas, it would be Golden State beating Cleveland in each of the next two NBA Finals.
3. King for a Day (1984)
Christmas Day at Madison Square Garden is a recipe for something special. Bernard King delivered just that in 1984, scoring 60 points in a rivalry game against the New Jersey Nets.
He became just the 10th NBA player to score at least 60 points in a game. Of course, in true Knicks fashion, they still managed to lose the game 120-114.
2. The Longest Game (1971)
Nobody had other plans on Christmas Day in 1971, so the Chiefs and Dolphins figured they would play the longest game in NFL history, which also happened to be a playoff game. The teams played to a 24-24 tie and then a scoreless overtime period, forcing a second overtime period.
Just past the midway point of the second 15-minute period, Miami kicker Garo Yepremeian kicked a field goal to end it 27-24. In real-time, the game only took three hours and 21 minutes, but at 82 minutes and 40 seconds, it’s still the longest NFL game in terms of game minutes.
1. Kobe vs Shaq (2004)
This was the first head-to-head meeting between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant since the pair led the Lakers to three straight championships. Of course, the two feuded publicly and hated one another, making this Christmas Day meeting personal. The pre-game hype was incredible and the game somehow lived up to it.
Kobe finished with 42 points and forced Shaq out of the game by drawing two fouls on him late. Despite Shaq fouling out with the game tied at 91, Dwayne Wade took over in leading Miami to a 104-102 win, as Kobe missed a three at the buzzer.