The Holiday season is about tradition. For some that means driving around viewing lights, for others a night at the in-laws. For the Sioux Falls Skyforce it's about bringing together family and basketball. Team owner and president Mike Heineman explains why the tradition has been so successful.
"Sioux Falls has just embraced it as a fun thing to do on christmas night. We're the only game playing tonight in the D-League, so all eyes will be on us, which is cool for our guys. People have made it part of their family traditions and embraced us, so it's always been a good game," said Heineman.
It's one tradition that has certainly endured the test of time. Through the 25 years of holiday hoops, the Skyforce has been through two different arenas, three leagues, and six-different NBA Affiliates. However, the fans always make it. Heineman illustrates what's make the crowd unique on Christmas night.
"A Lot of families have people in town, relatives, kids home from college, so it's a lot families a lot of people here in which it's the only game they come too so it's a family tradition for them, they make it the one game a year they come too. It's a very family-friendly environment, people just looking to get out of the house and spend some more time with their family, said Heineman."
First-year head coach Pat Delany has the Skyforce off to a hot start this season, winning five-in-a-row and 8 of their first 10 games. Although he's only been here for one season, he's looking to the opportunity to coach on Christmas night and continue the tradition.
"Playing at home, obviously on Christmas day, and coming out and seeing all the families together and all the kids, and just knowing that it's sold out is great. The fans can go unnoticed in all of sports, but not here in Sioux Falls, it's been a long time that they've been here and supporting the team, so we hope to put on a good show for them," said Delany.