NBA Family Thanksgiving Dinner


Zach Gotlieb | November 28th, 2019

Thanksgiving is finally upon us, and there’s a lot to be thankful for. We’re thankful for our families, lives, and any other number of things. I personally have a lot to be thankful for. One of those things being the NBA. It’s been a brutal few months as a Denver sports fan. Watching the Colorado Rockies take a massive step back from last season – failing to make the playoffs – and the Denver Broncos facing a 3-8 record. Having the NBA and the Denver Nuggets back has been a nice change of pace from all the losing that’s been happening in the last few months. It also got me thinking, which active NBA players I would want at my Thanksgiving dinner.

The Elder with Stories: Vince Carter

Not really much debate here. Carter is in his record-setting 22nd season in the league totaling over 1,500 games (regular season and playoffs) with several accolades. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include an NBA championship, but being one of the most polarizing players for years early in his career, who wouldn’t want to hear the stories of what it was like to compete against a young Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan? What it was like to compete and win the most anticipated event of All-Star Weekend in the Dunk Contest. Maybe it’s too stereotypical to have the elders tell the stories, but with VC, it just works. Plus, I’d highly encourage him to come in the old 1990’s Toronto Raptors jersey that had a raptor on the front. That’s my all-time favorite uniform and would make him the best dressed at my Thanksgiving dinner.


The Crazy Athletic Cousin and Guaranteed First-Pick in the Turkey Bowl: LeBron James

This is a difficult choice. I feel there are so many potentially good football players in the NBA, but LeBron James is my choice. I don’t know if you’ve seen the videos of LeBron playing quarterback during pregame warmups. Still, the man has got a cannon with accuracy. His athleticism and physicality have long been touted as a skill set that would make him an excellent wide receiver or tight end. His film shows him to be on the best passers in the league, averaging a career-high in assists per game in his 17th season. I’m confident he can fill a Taysom Hill-type role. He maybe even better at it. That would be the best type of player to have on an exhibition football team when you plan on being over competitive (as I would).

Drunk Uncle: J.R. Smith

I’m sorry, the Hennessy memes are just a bit too good not to place him here. Truth be told, his energy on the court as a deadeye shooter and high flying dunking ability he at least used to have wold make for an entertaining and welcome addition to my Thanksgiving dinner.


Cousin that Stays Up Late and is Awake Early for Black Friday Doorbusters: Jimmy Butler

We know that a lot of players are gym rats and go in early and leave late. But the stories of Butler getting to the gym at 3am during training camp just screams “insane person getting in line for the early morning doorbusters.” With the nickname of “Jimmy Buckets,” I’d fully expect him to get home from bargain hunting, hitting the mark on great gifts and great deals. Especially in the clutch minutes where the deals are ending soon. His attitude and argumentative mind fit right in with the interesting debates that happen in my family. I would love to have him at my Thanksgiving dinner.

The one that sits and watches the games all day: Allonzo Trier

Going from playing days to just sitting and watching is how I’d describe it. Trier started the season with a role in David Fizdale’s rotation, and it appears he has now fallen entirely out of the rotation, not playing in the last six games. The undrafted second-year player appeared in 64 games last season, averaging almost 11 points/game. Out of pity for having to be a part of the Knicks organization, he deserves an invite to my Thanksgiving dinner.

The teenager that is on his way to great things: Coby White

Admittedly, I didn’t pay enough attention to college basketball last year until March Madness. If your name wasn’t Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, or Ja Morant, I hadn’t really seen much of you. I feel like Coby White fell under the radar because of the polarizing Duke freshman. Still, he definitely caught my eye at the end of the regular season and during March Madness if not for anything but his teeming mane. The hair is as swaggy as his game. His attitude, as seen on draft night when his college teammate Cameron Johnson got picked 11th overall, is incredible. He’s a little inconsistent but playing well right now for the Bulls. No doubt that if he can get more consistent, he can be a core piece of a rebuilding Chicago Bulls team. I would love to have him, and his hair, at my Thanksgiving dinner.

The adult in the room: Paul Millsap

As a Nuggets fan, watching Paul Millsap play basketball and how he carries himself off the court, it’s pretty clear he is the adult in the locker room. It doesn’t matter what’s happening with the Nuggets on any given night, Millsap just finds a way to provide precisely what the team needs to stay in/win the game. His maturity in the locker room and the voice of leadership has been hugely important for a team with an average age of 25. Been watching him in Denver for three years now, and he’s been a constant professional. I need the maturity and wisdom of a Paul Millsap at my Thanksgiving dinner.


The cook: Serge Ibaka

As the host of a YouTube show, “How Hungry Are You?” his interestingly weird food, along with his delightful tv personality, would make for a VIP guest at my Thanksgiving dinner.

Reliving the glory days: Kyle Korver

Calling this a “fountain of youth” type deal. Except with Korver, it’s more about being a solid role player as he’s been his entire career despite being 38 and in his 20th season. I’ve always believed that he may be the most underrated shooter of all-time. He’s shooting 42% from 3-point range for his career while starting this year at 39%. He’s now playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, a guy that needs shooters and spacing around him. That should be an ideal role for him. Also, he really just seems to be a good dude that also may bring a bit of peace among the chaos that is my Thanksgiving dinner.

Questions and comments?

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