Has the NBA ever played on Thanksgiving?

A basketball placed next to the NBA logo. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A basketball placed next to the NBA logo. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

For a large number of people, Thanksgiving is a day for, well, giving thanks, right? Family, friends, food, love, happiness, etc…and the NBA? The Portland Trail Blazers? A chance at the 2024 draft’s No. 1 overall pick? But what about actual games? Does the NBA play on Thanksgiving Day?

Are there NBA games on Thanksgiving this year?

There are a handful of in-season tournament games on Nov. 21, including the Blazers playing at the Phoenix Suns. There are 14 more games on Wednesday, Nov. 22. That doesn’t bode well for another slate of games on Thanksgiving Day.

The answer is no, there are no NBA games on Thanksgiving this year. As the saying goes, “the NFL is king,” and it rules every fourth Thursday of November.

Has it always been that way?

Has the NBA ever played on Thanksgiving Day?

Yes, of course it did – at least until 2010, when it ceded the afternoon and, for the last few years, the evening, to the NFL.

When’s the last time the Trail Blazers played on Thanksgiving?

The last time Portland played on Thanksgiving Day was quite awhile ago. They played the Seattle Supersonics – so, that long ago.

The Blazers beat the Sonics 89-85 in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day 2002. Bonzi Wells led the way with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Rasheed Wallace added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Portland’s three other starters were Scottie Pippen, Derek Anderson and Dale Davis. Jeff McInnis played 27 minutes off the bench, and Arvydas Sabonis – who’s now 58 years old and has a son in his seventh NBA season who has made three all-star games and was named Third-Team All-NBA last year – played 15 minutes and scored 10 points.

A 21-year-old Zach Randolph was 1-of-2 from the floor in 9:57 played.

A blast from the past.

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Portland resumes play the Sunday after Thanksgiving, playing three more times in November: Sunday, Nov. 26 at Milwaukee (the team’s first matchup with former pal Damian Lillard); Monday, Nov. 27 at Indiana and Thursday, Nov. 30 at Cleveland.