Dionte Christmas has bounced around quite a bit in his professional basketball career. Along with stints in multiple NBA training camps and summer league squads, he has called Russia, Greece, Israel, the Czech Republic and Italy home at different points in his life. His frequent flier status probably matches George Clooney from “Up in the Air”.
With a career in flux, it can only be natural for Christmas to be thinking of what else is out there besides playing basketball. What other passions in life can he fall back on if the NBA dream ends? Luckily, Christmas has another interest in life — broadcasting.
Christmas majored in African American studies while at Temple and never thought he would develop a passion for anything other than playing the sport he loves.
“It’s crazy, my junior year when I started getting a name, I would start doing interviews and I picked up an interest from it,” Christmas said.
That interest picked up even more steam after losing to Arizona State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in his senior season. After the game, Comcast SportsNet invited the 6-foot-5 guard to be an in-game studio analyst for a Villanova game. He spoke during halftime and on the post-game report, and his interest blossomed from there.
“I loved it, was a lot of fun. If I don’t play basketball or things don’t work out, it would be something I would love to do,” Christmas said.
Things on the court have been working out great as of late for Christmas. He signed with the Suns in September after having a great Summer League and ended up making the team. Recently, he was guaranteed a season-long contract for the first time and is expected to finish an entire season with one team for the first time of his career.
It may be surprising that the three-time A-10 scoring leader took this long to stick with a team, but Christmas doesn’t mind and is doing everything he can to prepare himself should an opportunity arise for more playing time.
“It’s been amazing man,” Christmas said of his first guaranteed contract. “Being around these guys everyday, coaching staff everyday, getting better everyday.
“I’m not playing much, but I’m still here every day getting better, first one here and last one to leave. Just getting work in and bettering myself so when my number is called I will be ready.”
Seeing action in just 24 games, Christmas is averaging a mere 2.3 points per game, but that is OK with him. He knew how things would be and by not worrying about his playing time has turned into one of the better chemistry guys on the team.
“I never get down on myself,” Christmas said. “Just here to support my teammates. You look on the sidelines and I am always the first one to jump up and support my teammates, just playing my part.”
You always see Christmas doing one of two things after practice, sometimes at the same time. He’s either joking around or working on his game. But his outgoing personality makes him an ideal talent for broadcasting once his basketball career is done with.
“He’s hilarious,” rookie Archie Goodwin said. “He’s so funny, but at the same time he can be serious. I definitely can see it.”
Christmas would ideally like to remain exclusively in studio, speaking his mind about the sport he loves, just like his favorite crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal on Inside the NBA.
“They get to speak their mind about the sport they love and I believe I’m very knowledgeable and know the game, so it is something I can enjoy,” Christmas said.
Goodwin believes Christmas would fit right in with those guys, but he also thinks it will be awhile until we ever see Christmas on TV. It’s a subtle nod toward a hard-working player that is, in a way, just beginning his professional career on the court.
Off the court can wait.