Chattanooga sports stars reflect on favorite Christmas moments, meanings

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Christmas is officially here! Santa comes tonight. But the holiday isn’t all about the presents. News 12 sports anchor Angela Moryan talked to some of Chattanooga’s biggest sports names to find out just what Christmas means to them.

Chattanooga football coach Rusty Wright: “Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Masters week, Christmas, they’re all the same.”

Former Cleveland basketball star Jacobi Wood: “Christmas is everything to me. It’s my favorite holiday.”

Angela: “What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?”

Chattanooga basketball guard David Jean-Baptiste: “Oh, favorite Christmas tradition? That’s a good question. I’d say the matching PJs.”

Chattanooga women’s basketball coach Katie Burrows: “We used to do a three on three type basketball game with our family members. And those were some battles. There were broken fingers. Yeah, not mine. My father’s.”

Angela: “Who was the champion of the three on three basketball?”

Burrows: “Hmm. Well, I’m going to say my team.”

Wright: “Me and my wife and my daughter we go usually the day or Christmas Eve, I give each one of us, I don’t know, 25 or 30 bucks, and that’s what we stuff the stockings with, and it’s all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Wood: “Me and my parents, we all open a present on Christmas Eve. We usually open the biggest one that we have. We all get a chance to open one and see what we have.”

Former East Hamilton, current Chattanooga guard Jamaal Walker: “We like huddled around this big TV. I don’t think flat screens were built then, so it’s like this fat TV in the corner of the house. We read a couple Bible verses, and just take away what we learn from it, then we open presents. And it was just like the biggest smile on my face. I mean, I’m smiling right now, but the smile then, I had a gap. It wasn’t the best smile.”

Chattanooga Red Wolves coach Jimmy Obleda: “Seeing my kids, seeing their face in the morning, seeing that face of joy, like not understanding what has happened. You know, Santa comes in at 12 o’clock or whatever. He’s traveling the world and there’s not Christmas, there’s no gifts under the tree and then, BAM! The next morning you show up and you got Toys ‘R’ Us down there, you know what I mean? Christmas to me is just family.”

Burrows: “For me, it’s just an opportunity to celebrate Jesus.”

Chattanooga men’s basketball coach Lamont Paris: “What it represents and what it is is a big deal to me. Just because I have faith, I am a faithful person, and so I try not to lose sight of what it represents.”

Chattanooga forward Silvio De Sousa: “I love Christmas. I think it’s the day that we have to be grateful for. It’s the day that Jesus was born and we celebrate new life.”

Jean-Baptiste: “No matter what kind of year everyone has had, Christmas is a time when we all come together and we dwell in happiness. And the fact that we’re all around each other, still here, surrounded by our loved ones, I think that speaks a lot.”

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