NBA: Ranking the 12 best Christmas Day performances in history

Some of the most memorable regular-season moments in the NBA have taken place on Christmas Day. Let's take a look back at some of the best.

New Orleans Pelicans v Orlando Magic
New Orleans Pelicans v Orlando Magic / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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12. Jerry West (1963)

The “Logo” put on a show for those in attendance at Madison Square Garden in 1963. Jerry West torched the Knicks for 47 points in a 134-126 Lakers victory. It was an NBA record for most points scored on Christmas Day at that time. It wouldn’t be the only time that “Mr. Clutch” put up big numbers on December 25th.

Mr. Clutch made scoring outbursts on Christmas Day a habit over his career. He also hung 44 points on the Detroit Pistons in 1965. West averaged 32.1 points per game on Christmas Day during his legendary career. That’s the highest scoring average of any player who has played in at least five Christmas Day games.

Yup, that’s more than Wilt, MJ, Kobe, LeBron, Shaq, or Joe Kleine. That’s why he’s the logo.

11. Kobe Bryant (2004)

The Miami Heat visited the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day 2004. This was no ordinary regular season game. Nor was it even an ordinary Christmas Day game. This was the most hyped regular-season game that I can remember in my lifetime.

It would be the first time that Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant would match up on opposing teams. Shaq had been traded to the Miami Heat months prior and there was not any love lost between him and Kobe at the time.

Bryant was spectacular in leading the Lakers with 42 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Shaq had 24 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. Luckily for him, Dwyane Wade (29 points, 10 assists) picked Shaq up as the Heat held on for a 104-102 victory over the Lakers.

Shaq had help from Wade but the story was surely Kobe as he nearly carried the Lakers over the championship-worthy Heat by himself. It was certainly one of the most memorable performances in NBA Christmas Day history.