Happy Festivus, NBA fans! Better known as “a Festivus for the rest of us”, Festivus is a holiday that originates from Seinfeld. In an episode from December of 1997, George Costanza dreads the celebrations of his father,  Frank, for a made-up holiday. On December 23rd, the date of the fictional holiday, families are to raise a Festivus Pole to stand up against Christmas commercialism. At the Festivus dinner, there is a traditional Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength. Both of which play out hilariously in the show, making it an instant classic for the series. Sure, we all know about the NBA’s connection to Christmas, but why not tie in another holiday?

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Since the episode’s airing in 1997, the Festivus holiday has caught on. Every year, fans of Seinfeld, anti-commercialists, and those with grievances commiserate around a silver pole and celebrate. At the Airing of Grievances, people pull out their best Frank Costanza impression and let people know what’s wrong with them or what’s on their mind. This year, while the NBA is just getting underway, we at Belly Up want to celebrate with our own Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength. 

Happy Festivus, all! I got a lot of problems with some of you people, and now?! You’re going to hear about them.


To James Harden,

Listen, you have got to go play. James, you can play unhappy. You can be a baby at practice. You can even fake the severity of an injury (see: Kawhi Leonard’s grievance from 2017-18). But you have to stop going to strip clubs in a global pandemic and go hoop. If you want to increase your trade value? Go play well with this cast. If you have more complaints? Gather round the Festivus Pole with Rafael Stone, Tilman Fertita, and Stephen Silas if you need to… but drop the honey buns and get on the court. The team of John Wall, Christian Wood, and Boogie Cousins has a lot of potential if you continue to play like the perennial MVP candidate you are. 

To NBA Media Stuck on James Harden,

We get it. James Harden wants out of Houston. James Harden enjoys and frequents strip clubs. Until something new happens, we have to stop reporting some version of the same headline every day. The clickbait is strong on NBA Twitter, we get it. Be stronger. NBA stars ask to be traded all the time, even in Houston. Olajuwon asked out in 1991, and won two titles in the city just a couple of years later. Kawhi Leonard asked out, Paul George, AD, etc. This happens. When there’s something new, tell us. Until then, don’t. 

To Kyrie Irving,

This may feel like an old grievance because Kyrie’s latest points aren’t actually awful. Not wanting to talk to the media isn’t an inherently bad thing. Wanting to embrace your cultural rituals as you learn more about them isn’t an inherently bad thing. Hosting an Instagram Live video with your buddy Kevin Durant isn’t an inherently bad thing. But when you’ve been off of the deep end before, by insinuating there was an end to the spherical Earth, you have to understand all of it is going to be taken in the worst light. Further, you have to stop getting visibly annoyed when it does. Because you get to do what you want, 28-year-old millionaire. You also are very visible, and your journey is too. 

To Steph Curry Apologists,

Listen, Steph is a Hall of Fame basketball player and a better person. His accolades, at age 32, speak for themselves, but the Warriors look like they’re in for a tough year. After the exodus of Kevin Durant, hopes hinged on the Splash Brothers carrying the full load this year. After Klay’s injury, that load is now on Curry’s skinny shoulders. While his shoulders shimmying is fun, Curry apologists will be one of the most annoying fanbases this season when things aren’t going the Warriors’ way. And if opening night is anything, there’s going to be (potentially) a lot of the season that doesn’t go the Warriors’ way. It’s okay, you won three titles in five years. We get it. Things can be just okay this year, it’s no knock on those five years. People being realistic about the Warriors isn’t some sort of knock on the dynasty, or on their legacy. It’s an assessment of this year. This is a pre-emptive grievance, but one we need to get out of the way. The apologists are already out and about.

To Any Grown Adult Hating on an NBA Player Under 23 Years Old,

Here’s my thing: when you were the age of the dude you’re criticizing, you were playing super hard on your mediocre intramural team at local state college. Maybe you weren’t even doing that. Let Zion Williamson, Bam Adebayo, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball, and other kids grow up. None of our current NBA stars are flawless, but they were even less so when they were younger. Durant was a scoring machine, but he was a turnstile that got beat up on defense. James Harden got a lot of points off the bench, but work to play 36 or more NBA game minutes. LeBron James used to have no jump shot. Jimmy Butler was just a scrappy defender. In Giannis’ first Bucks highlights, he ran like a baby deer. The list goes on. A player having flaws in their game between the age of 19-22 doesn’t mean they can’t be the face of the league one day. Stop acting like every kid is a finished product. You weren’t, they aren’t. Closing the door on a kid’s story at 23 (nevertheless younger) is asinine.

To Fiends for Luka’s MVP Coronation,

Luka Doncic is an incredible basketball player. His step-back threes, his court vision, and his crafty drives are all a lot of fun to watch. While it feels like the sky is the limit for Cool Hand Luka, and that there are several MVP’s in his future, this season is not “make or break” for the young Slovenian’s career. Luka is as good a player at 21-years-old as we’ve seen in fifteen years. He is the face of a franchise looking to make the next step and advance in the NBA Playoffs. He will have moments this year where he looks like the best player in the NBA, but there will also be moments he struggles.

For some reason, Luka’s victories are magnified and his slights minimized. Any wind of a growth area makes someone a “Luka hater!” He’s a Vegas favorite for the NBA MVP in large part because Vegas knows that’s how they’ll lure you in and get your money. They didn’t build those giant casinos in Las Vegas because fans won a lot of money. Giving him songs like “Halleluka,” is fun, but the Luka-madness is at an all-time high.

That’s not even to say it’s out of the question that he will win the MVP this season. He certainly might… but the eagerness to get ahead of the game on this particular player is weird (to put it nicely). Enjoy Luka, don’t be delusional, and keep perspective. It will make enjoying his career more fun anyway. Rushing this will be something you regret for a long time. Look at people who vowed to hate 22-year-old LeBron in 2007. “He lost an NBA Finals, he’s trash”, they shouted as he leads a team as the Finals favorite at 36-years-old, fourteen years and four Larry O’Brien trophies later.

To Scott Foster,

Please, just retire.

To Tilman Fertitta,

Enough. Sell the team.

“Feats of Strength”

Steven Adams vs Zion Williamson

This was going to be a much longer, in-depth section about NBA teammates we would like to see wrestle. Part of the Feats of Strength in Seinfeld is that the two fighters have to be related. While there are pairs of brothers in the NBA, the more appropriate thing would be to treat each team as a family. Thus, having teammates wrestle this one out makes the most sense.

But then it all got cut short. Sure, there are people who it would be fun to see lose a wrestling match, but there is only one wrestling match within the same team worth watching.

Whether you think Steven Adams is Aquaman or Drogo, he is the most intimidating character in the NBA landscape. In the corner opposite him, Zion is six-foot-six and twenty pounds heavier.

Both are very fun people, and this probably plays out more like a staged WWE fight than a true heavyweight bout. Nevertheless, there would not be a more intense Feat of Strength on any NBA franchise.

For more things basketball, football, jokes, or otherwise, follow me on Twitter @painsworth512 for more, and give our podcast “F” In Sports a listen wherever you listen to podcasts!
About Author

Parker Ainsworth

Senior NBA Writer, Co-Host of "F" In Sports and The Midweek Midrange. Parker is a hoops head, "retired" football player, and sneaker aficionado. Austinite born in Houston, located in Dallas after a brief stint in LA... Parker is a well-traveled Texan, teacher, and coach. Feel free to contact Parker- https://linktr.ee/PAinsworth512

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