Has the NBA ever played on Thanksgiving?

New York Knicks, Adam Silver
New York Knicks, Adam Silver / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

When sports fans think about Thanksgiving, one of the first things that comes to mind is football. The NFL has a history of playing on the holiday, while it's one of the days that the NBA takes off completely, including the New York Knicks.

The holiday will mark the second time in the 2023-24 season that no NBA games will be held, with Election Day a few weeks ago being the first. Knicks fans will enjoy the time with family and friends before New York hosts its first-ever In-Season Tournament game on Friday against Miami.

Fourteen games will be played on Wednesday, including a nationally-televised showdown between the Bucks and Celtics, and Warriors versus Suns will follow. After the night's final game concludes, the next NBA game will tip-off on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET between the Celtics and Magic.

Has the NBA ever played on Thanksgiving?

The NBA used to hold games on Thanksgiving until the NFL dominated the center stage. The last Thanksgiving game was played in 2010, a TNT doubleheader (Wizards-Hawks, Kings-Clippers). For the last 13 years, the league has avoided playing games on the holiday altogether.

Why doesn't the NBA play on Thanksgiving?

The league hasn't given an explicit reason for not playing on Thanksgiving, but the answer is obvious. The NBA would be competing with the NFL for views. Thanksgiving belongs to the NFL, and although the NFL also holds games on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 belongs to the NBA.

Will the NBA ever play on Thanksgiving again?

Never say never. It wouldn't be a shock if, in the future, the NBA decided to test the Thanksgiving waters again with a couple of high-profile matchups. However, the league seems content to sit back and let the NFL have the spotlight.

The NBA not playing on Thanksgiving is a goodfor players, as they get the day off to spend it however they please. For teams that hit the road for Christmas Day games, it's nice to have Thanksgiving off.