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NBA Christmas Day

How LeBron James, Michael Jordan and other NBA legends performed in their Christmas Day debuts

This Christmas will see some of the league's rising stars make their Christmas Day debuts.

The headliners? New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

Williamson is only 25 games into his NBA career, but he took the league by storm as a rookie with averages of 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on 58.3 percent shooting from the field. Doncic is now in his third season and has already cemented himself as one of the best players in the league, finishing fourth in MVP voting in the 2019-20 season with averages of 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game.

What can we expect from the two of them when they take the court on Christmas Day?

Here are how some of the NBA's legends performed in their Christmas Day debuts.

Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors - 1959

Stats: 45 points, 34 rebounds vs. Syracuse Nationals (129-121, W)

Given the godly numbers Wilt put up over the course of his 14-year career, it should come as no surprise that this isn't his greatest Christmas Day performance. However, his stat line of 45 points and 34 rebounds is still incredible, especially when you consider that he was only a rookie.

According to Stathead, it's the sixth-most points anyone has ever scored on Christmas Day. It's also the second-most rebounds anyone has ever recorded on Christmas Day, trailing only ... himself.

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals - 1960

Stats: 32 points, 16 assists, 15 rebounds vs. Detroit Pistons (126-119, W)

Robertson became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the 1961-62 season but he came close even in his rookie year (1960-61) with averages of 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game.

Robertson showcased his ability to do it all in his Christmas Day debut, leading the Royals to a win with 32 points, 16 assists and 15 rebounds. According to Stathead, it's one of only nine triple-doubles ever recorded on Christmas Day.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks - 1971

Stats: 38 points, 18 rebounds vs. Detroit Pistons (120-118, L OT)

Coming off a year where he won the league MVP, the NBA title and the Finals MVP award (1970-71), nobody could stop Kareem from playing in the following Christmas. He couldn't lead the Bucks to a win, but he didn't disappoint with a game-high 38 points to go along with 18 rebounds and eight assists.

Larry Bird, Boston Celtics - 1980

Stats: 28 points, 20 rebounds vs. New York Knicks (117-108, W)

En route to leading the Celtics to a championship in 1981, Bird made his Christmas Day debut that season and dominated with a 28-point, 20-rebound double-double. Bird also handed out eight assists in the win.

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers - 1981

Stats: 18 points, 8 assists vs. Phoenix Suns (104-101, W)

Despite a Finals MVP performance as a rookie in the 1980 NBA Finals, Johnson made his Christmas Day debut in his third season. He posted a near double-double with 18 points and eight assists as the Lakers defeated the Suns in a close one.

Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks - 1985

Stats: 32 points, 11 rebounds vs. Boston Celtics (113-104, W 2OT)

Ewing made his Christmas Day debut as a rookie and not only did he impress with a 32-point, 11-rebound double-double, he did so in a 25-point double-overtime come-from-behind win against the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls - 1986

Stats: 30 points, 6 steals, 5 assists vs. New York Knicks (86-85, L)

Arguably the greatest of all-time, Jordan made his Christmas Day debut in his second season against Ewing and the Knicks. Despite doing it all with 30 points, six steals and five assists, Jordan and the Bulls came up short by one point.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets - 1993

Stats: 27 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks vs. Phoenix Suns (91-111, L)

Olajuwon is one of only four players to ever record a quadruple-double. He didn't record a quadruple-double in his Christmas Day debut, but he showed off his incredible versatility with 27 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals. Olajuwon was one of a kind.

Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic - 2000

Stats: 43 points, 9 rebounds vs. Indiana Pacers (103-93, L)

After three seasons with the Toronto Raptors, McGrady made his Christmas Day debut in his first season with the Magic. While he lit it up with 43 points - the 11th-most points ever scored on Christmas Day - it came in a losing effort

Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers - 2001

Stats: 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists vs. Los Angeles Lakers (88-82, L)

Iverson made his Christmas Day debut against the Lakers ... months after losing to them in the NBA Finals. Despite putting up 31 points, Iverson finished on the losing side.

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks - 2003

Stats: 31 points, 14 rebounds vs. Sacramento Kings (111-103, W)

Everybody knew Nowitzki could score, especially by 2003, but he padded the stat sheet in his Christmas Day debut with 31 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals. He did so against the Sacramento Kings, who were coming off five straight playoff appearances, including a run to the Conference Finals in 2002.

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers - 2003

Stats: 34 points, 6 assists vs. Orlando Magic (101-113, L)

LeBron's Christmas Day debut was a classic, as he went head-to-head with McGrady in a game that was decided in overtime. Whereas James posted 34 points and six assists, McGrady flirted with a triple-double with 41 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat - 2004

Stats: 29 points, 10 assists vs. Los Angeles Lakers (104-102 OT, W)

Shaquille O'Neal making his return to Los Angeles as a member of the Heat stole the headlines, but Wade made sure everybody took notice by leading Miami to an overtime win with a 29-point, 10-assist double-double.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans - 2015

Stats: 29 points, 15 rebounds vs. Miami Heat (94-88 OT, L)

In typical Davis fashion, he stuffed the stat sheet in his Christmas Day debut with 29 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, four steals and four blocks, but unfortunately for him, it came in an overtime loss.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks - 2018

Stats: 30 points, 14 rebounds vs. New York Knicks (109-95, W)

The Greek Freak showed out in his Christmas Day debut. The Knicks had no answer for him as he scored a game-high 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans - 2020

Stats: 32 points, 14 rebounds vs. Miami Heat (111-98, L)

To the surprise of few, Williamson imposed his will in his first-ever Christmas Day game, finishing with 32 points while shooting 11-for-20 from the field and 10-for-15 from the charity stripe.

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