The legendary Lakers coach complained Tuesday night that the NBA schedules too many games on Christmas Day, which is supposed to be “holy time.”
He also talked about how difficult it is for players to focus as their children are putting batteries into toys, which is, of course, the holiest of rituals on the sacrosanct day.
“It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean to them anything any more,” Jackson said. “It’s really weird, but it is what it is. We have to go to work and make the best of it.”
Make the best of it. The man who gets paid more money in a month than some folks make in a lifetime is upset that he has to work for four or five hours on Christmas. He’s going to try to “make the best of it.”
Do you know who needs to make the best of it? How about the guy who sells cotton candy up in the balcony? How about the people who have to stand at the entrances and scan tickets as fans enter the turnstiles? How about the parking lot attendants or the traffic cops? The kids who have to run onto the court to wipe up grown men’s sweat? Or the janitors who have to clean the disgusting bathrooms hours after the Staples Center has cleared out for the evening?
If you wanted, you could take it three steps further. You could talk about the soldiers overseas who won’t be home for Christmas. Chances are, you won’t hear them complaining to the media that it will be hard to “focus” on their jobs on such a holy day.
These are the people who are grateful that they have jobs and earn money to buy presents for their families. These are the people whose annual salary is less than what Jackson makes in one game? They are the people who truly need to “make the most of it.”
Jackson and his squad of millionaires? They’ll probably get by if they have to drive down the street and play basketball for a few hours on Christmas Day.
To really hammer home his point, Jackson pointed to another deeply rooted American tradition — soccer.
“I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day,” he told ESPN.com. “Soccer teams don’t play this time of year. They take a break. I don’t understand it.”
Phil may not understand it, and you know what? Neither do we. There are millions of Americans who have to work on Christmas. They’ll be collecting your tolls on the highway and serving you coffee at McDonald’s. They’ll begrudgingly leave their families for a significant portion of the day, but they’re doing what they have to do.
But Phil? He’s mad that he has to go sit in a chair with a suit on and diagram a few plays. All woe is him, indeed.
It makes sense, considering this is the same man who complained last year when he heard the Lakers were perhaps considering lowering his $12.5 million salary.
“Would you?” he rhetorically asked a reporter when asked if he would accept a lower salary.
When Jackson wakes up on Christmas morning, before he is taxed with the grueling task of sitting in a chair for three hours, let’s just hope he finds a serious dose of perspective underneath his Christmas tree. Then again, he’d probably complain about that, too.
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