(above : jerk who believes TV schedule should cater to his whims. And on the right, Jay Leno)

OK, admittedly, that’s not at all what Lakers head coach Phil Jackson had to say on the subject of his Lakers hosting Miami on Christmas Day, the 12th consecutive time Los Angeles has bowed to their TV paymasters and played on the holiday.  But in quotes circulated by Fanhouse’s Chris Tomasson, Jackson seems to argue against a separation of Church and NBA.

“It used to be Phoenix and L.A. and New York and Boston and New York or Philly or somebody on the East Coast,” Jackson, speaking before Tuesday’s game against Milwaukee at the Staples Center, said of the once much more reduced NBA schedule on Christmas. “Now, I see they have like six games (actually, five) on Christmas. It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean anything to (the NBA) anymore. You just go out and play and entertain (on) TV. It’s really weird.”

“I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day,” Jackson said. “Soccer teams don’t play this time of year… I agree (with the NHL also not playing). I don’t understand it. … You just have to keep reminding (the NBA) that this is a special day.”

If Jackson would like to be nostalgic for the days before the NBA was a hot Christmas TV property, he’d do well to recall the league was reduced to showing the Finals on tape delay as recently as 1980. Surely he can recognize the demand for a Christmas showcase is a byproduct of the game’s popularity (another result being the gargantuan compensation earned by Phil and his players)?  But aside from all of that…what about America’s non-Xtian population?  Don’t we deserve some entertainment?  Rather than bitching about working Christmas Day, you’d think Jackson could spare a thought for those of us who live in cities without decent Chinese restaurants.  I’m no fan of Miami’s Big 3, but I’d rather watch them do their thing on Saturday than stand in line for “Tron 3D”.