ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holidays are not only a time of being with friends and family, they also bring about one of the marquee moments on the NBA calendar: Christmas Day, when the NBA is giving us five big match-ups to keep you glued to your couch all day long.
To celebrate the upcoming day, we’re talking with a few famous NBA fans about what the NBA and the Christmas Day games mean to them. We’ve already talked to John Leguizamo and Mario Batali, and today we check in with one of our favorite actresses, Anna Chlumsky. You know her from all sort of projects, from the big screen (movies like My Girl to, more recently, In The Loop) to her current role on HBO’s hilarious “Veep.” In January she will make her Broadway debut in “You Can’t Take It With You.” What you may not know is the Chicago native-turned-Brooklyn resident loves the NBA, as well, so it was great to exchange emails with her about the upcoming NBA Christmas Day slate…
ME: You grew up in Chicago but live in Brooklyn. Which team gets the bulk of your allegiance right now?
ANNA: The Nets. Once the ’90s Bulls disbanded with Phil Jackson‘s leaving for L.A., I went through a long mourning period. Fast forward to Barclays being built blocks from my old apartment. The Nets fever just came over me.
ME: Your time in Chicago aligns with when the Bulls were in the midst of their dynasty. Other than Michael Jordan, who was your favorite Bulls player?
ANNA: I had a B.J. Armstrong poster on my wall. And you couldn’t be of Croatian descent in Chicago and not adore Toni Kukoč. He was our hero! Three-pointers for days, man!!
ME: You play a character running a presidential campaign on Veep. Which NBA player would be great at running for president?
ANNA: Hmmm…Bleacher Report likes Tim Duncan‘s poker face, and I’m inclined to agree. Good for debates.
ME: All-Star Weekend in New York City is a few months away. Any don’t-miss stops you have for people visiting town?
ANNA: A Broadway show, the Highline… and Rockefeller Center at this time of year can’t be beat. And be sure to get a pastrami from Katz’s.
ME: What Christmas gift would you give to the Nets?
ANNA: Cookies. I’m taking orders, fellas.
ME: What Christmas Day traditions do you and your family share?
ANNA: We usually spend Christmas in Chicago with my side of the family, so someone’s inevitably in full Bears garb. We’ll watch football and basketball, and we’ve been known to pull out our own board games. My mother has a tradition where she gives my Uncle Kenny the seasonal loud, obnoxious, animatronic toy from Walgreens (think singing snowman), but I think he’s ready to move on and just get gloves again. Ha!
ME: How does the NBA fit into those traditions (will you watch games on Christmas Day)?
ANNA: We sure will. Go Bulls.
ME: What’s your go-to snack/food to eat when watching game on Christmas Day?
ANNA: Tortilla chips are never far away during the games. And at my father’s, (he’s a retired chef), we’ve always got a paté or two he’s steamed up for the holidays.
ME: Last thing: Give us your predictions for the Christmas Day lineup. Washington Wizards at New York Knicks?
ME: San Antonio Spurs at OKC Thunder?
ME: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat?
ME: Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls?
ME: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors?