Why Are There No NBA Games Scheduled for November 23, 2023?

Exploring the NBA's 2023-24 Season Unique Scheduling Dynamics.

by Nouman Rasool
Why Are There No NBA Games Scheduled for November 23, 2023?
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As the 2023-24 NBA season progresses, a notable absence of games on Thursday, November 23, has sparked curiosity among basketball enthusiasts. The explanation lies in the celebration of Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

This tradition sees the NBA granting a well-deserved break to its players, coaches, and team staff, allowing them to spend quality time with their families. This year continues a notable trend, marking the twelfth consecutive season without NBA action on Thanksgiving, a practice in place since the last Thanksgiving games in 2010.

Notably, this day off is one of the rare breaks for players outside of the All-Star break, with others being Election Day (November 7), Christmas Eve (December 24), and the day of the NCAA men's Division I basketball championship game (April 8).

The league also schedules a break on the penultimate day of the regular season (April 13).

In-Season Tournament Strategy

In a strategic move, the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament adds another layer to this season's schedule, creating additional rest days on December 3 and December 10.

This scheduling decision accommodates the heightened excitement of the tournament, which begins with quarterfinals on December 4 and culminates in a championship game on December 9, thereby offering teams some respite during this intense period.

Beyond family time, another factor influencing the NBA's Thanksgiving scheduling is the desire to avoid competing with the NFL. Thanksgiving has long been synonymous with football in America, with the NFL traditionally hosting a captivating triple-header that dominates the holiday’s sports viewership.

As a result, the NBA has strategically chosen not to challenge the NFL’s Thanksgiving monopoly. Despite forgoing Thanksgiving, the NBA remains competitive in its early-season scheduling. Innovations like the In-Season Tournament are part of the league's broader efforts to boost viewership.

Yet, it seems the NBA will continue to steer clear of Thanksgiving Day clashes, focusing instead on its five high-profile Christmas Day games, which have become a hallmark of the league's festive season celebrations. This strategic scheduling respects long-standing traditions and underlines the NBA's commitment to the well-being of its community and its astute understanding of the competitive sports broadcasting landscape.