It’s just not going to be the same.

In full disclosure, I’m a diehard San Antonio Spurs fan.

I grew up in San Antonio, and as a kid, I remember a wave sweeping over the city after the Spurs secured the top pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, virtually ensuring college phenom David Robinson would become the franchise’s centerpiece.

I was hooked from then on.

During my adulthood, not much has changed. I don’t collect Spurs basketball cards any more or have posters of players on my walls, but I’m still as passionate about the team as ever.

Outside of the season opener or any playoff game, since 2012, there is no game I anticipate more than the Spurs’ Christmas Day game.

Sure, there were times when a loss would spoil the holiday a bit, but overall, just having the game to look forward to, in addition to the rest of the day’s hoopla, made it special and unique.

It also became tradition. Until this year.

For whatever reason, the NBA’s Christmas schedule does not include San Antonio. Instead, the all-day marathon of games consists of Philadelphia at New York (11 a.m.), Cleveland at Golden State (2 p.m.), Washington at Boston (4:30 p.m.), Houston at Oklahoma City (7 p.m.) and Minnesota at the Los Angeles Lakers (9:30 p.m.).

Now, I can’t complain, because along with being a Spurs diehard, I am simply a huge fan of the NBA, and there is more than enough individual star power, marquee teams and storylines to keep me tuned in.

But it’s just not going to be the same.

For Spurs fans, it’s like receiving a pair of socks for Christmas after opening a box full of cash for the previous five years.

San Antonio’s absence from the schedule has advantages, though.

I can now spend more time devoted to my family on the holiday — as it should be — and I’m sure the spare 2½ hours will be put to good use breaking my daughter’s toys free from the steel-like plastic they all seem to be packaged in these days. Oh, and I’ll have more time to consume massive amounts of turkey and side dishes.

And I’m happy for the players and their families, who get to spend Christmas at home this year instead.

So, I guess it won’t be all bad, but I’m still anticipating a void. It’s like the Dallas Cowboys not playing on Thanksgiving or spending New Year’s Day without a college football bowl game.

Regardless, Christmas will go on, and I’ll enjoy every minute of the day, but it’s just not going to be the same.

Contact Clay Whittington at

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