NBA Christmas Day stat leaders: Luka shoots up leaderboards with masterpiece vs Suns

NBA Christmas Day is built for stars. Here's where they rank statistically.

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns
Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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NBA Christmas Day is here, and it's as good a time as ever to look back on the holiday classic and see who has performed best over the years. The league juices the schedule on Christmas Day, making it an interesting day to put under the statistical microscope since it generally lends itself to breakout star performances from the league's biggest players.

The minimum threshold for stats here is at least two appearances in Christmas Day games. Stats do not yet include Christmas Day games from the 2023-24 season.

Who has played the most NBA Christmas Day games?

Rank

Player

Games played

1

LeBron James

18

2

Kobe Bryant

16

3

Dwyane Wade

13

3

Shaquille O'Neal

13

3

Dolph Schayes

13

3

Earl Monroe

13

7

Oscar Robertson

12

7

Russell Westbrook

12

7

Dick Van Arsdale

12

7

Johnny Green

12

7

Dick Van Arsdale

12

12

Bill Cartwright

11

12

Bob Cousy

11

12

Carl Braun

11

12

Derek Fisher

11

12

Dick Barnett

11

12

JJ Redick

11

12

Walt Frazier

11

LeBron James takes the lead here with 17, which isn't surprising considering how quickly he entered NBA stardom and the incredible longevity his career has had.

The rest of the list is filled with stars from recent era and a few legacy players sprinkled in.

Who has scored the most in NBA Christmas Day games?

Rank

Player

Points

1

LeBron James

460

2

Kobe Bryant

395

3

Oscar Robertson

377

4

Kevin Durant

315

5

Dwyane Wade

314

6

James Harden

273

7

Shaquille O'Neall

272

8

Russell Westbrook

271

9

Dolph Schayes

239

10

Walt Bellamy

237

11

Dick Van Arsdale

232

12

Richie Guerin

232

13

Bob Cousy

223

14

Earl Monroe

204

15

Walt Frazier

204

16

Carmelo Anthony

203

17

Jerry West

193

18

Hal Greer

192

19

Bill Sharman

190

20

Wilt Chamberlain

190

LeBron, for his 17 games, also leads the league in total scoring. Retired players like Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal will soon be passed on this list, but others will stick around in the top 10 for years to come despite having been retired for quite some time because of sizable leads.

Who has averaged the most points per game on NBA Christmas Day?

Rank

Player

Points per game

1

Tracy McGrady

43.3

2

Luka Doncic

36.3

3

Jerry West

32.2

4

Wilt Chamberlain

31.7

5

Oscar Robertson

31.4

6

Joel Embiid

31.3

7

Rick Barry

31.0

8

Anthony Davis

30.3

9

Carmelo Anthony

29.0

10

Kevin Durant

26.6

11

Nikola Jokic

28.5

12

Michael Jordan

28.3

13

Bernard King

28.0

14

Billy Cunningham

28.0

15

Dirk Nowitzki

27.3

16

James Harden

27.3

17

Paul Arizin

27.2

18

Kyrie Irving

26.7

19

Brandon Roy

26.7

20

Moses Malone

26.7

21

Sidney Wicks

26.7

22

LeBron James

26.4

23

Walt Bellamy

26.3

24

Giannis Antetokounmpo

26.3

25

Bob Pettit

25.8

Luka, who wasn't on this list before the 2023-24 50-point performance, did enough to find himself second on this list after leading his team to a holiday win over the Suns.

Other changes included Anthony Davis jumping from 17 to 10, Kevin Durant dropping from seventh to 10th, Nikola Jokic dropping from eighth to 11th and LeBron James dropping from 16th to 22nd.

Joel Embiid didn't play in the Sixers 2023 Christmas Day game due to injury, a blow to the overall product considering in his four games he had averaged the fifth-most points of any player in the holiday classic coming in.

This is the only top-10 list of the stats we're looking at here that Michael Jordan appears on.

Highest-scoring individual NBA games on Christmas Day

Rank

Player

Points

Win or Loss

1

Bernard King

60

Loss

2

Wilt Chamberlain

59

Loss

3

Rick Barry

50

Win

3

Luka Doncic

50

Win

5

Jerry West

47

Win

6

Tracy McGrady

46

Win

7

Tom Heinsohn

45

Win

7

Wilt Chamberlain

45

7

Dominique Wilkins

45

Win

10

Jerry West

44

Win

10

Kevin Durant

44

Win

12

Don Ohl

43

Win

12

Tracy McGrady

43

Loss

14

Bob Love

42

Loss

14

Michael Jordan

42

Win

14

Kobe Bryant

42

Loss

17

Billy Cunningham

41

Loss

17

Tracy McGrady

41

Win

17

Brandon Roy

41

Win

17

James Harden

41

Win

17

Nikola Jokic

41

Win

17

Jayson Tatum

41

Win

This is a look at the 10 highest-scoring NBA games. Interestingly, the top two resulted in losses despite coming in at 60 and 59 points, respectively. Luka's 50-point 2023-24 game finds itself immediately vaulted in history, tied for the third-highest individual scoring game on Christmas Day.

Tracy McGrady, who also comes in tied at 10th with a 43-point game on Christmas Day as well, had a low-key highlight reel set of holiday appearances. McGrady played in just three Christmas Day games but scored above 40 points in each of them.

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