Phil Jackson and LeBron James have come out and said that don't like playing games on Christmas Day. I can understand that, to an extent. I remember what it was like to hold Thanksgiving and Christmas "early" and/or have to cut it short, when my fiancee would have to leave to catch the plane for a road trip. I remember hosting other athletes and cooking up a holiday feast. Teammate(s) would come over and were treated like family, since a few of them didn't have families of their own to celebrate with.
Travel is part of the NBA and yes, family is first ~ but unless you're new to the league you should be "used to" having to make certain sacrifices. If the athlete is being "featured" on Christmas, it's a tribute to the success of the team. If the athlete has the day "off", it probably means that the NBA doesn't value the team enough to schedule his team for a holiday, prime-time TV slot.
Those are the breaks. If you don't like it, come down with back spasms and don't travel. It's not rocket science. I realize that's a little harsh, but at the end of the day, time is what's precious and not the actual day. I was raised with the philosophy that "every day is Christmas". If you wanted something, you could have it. Ironically, I've never really been the type of person to ask for anything.
I think people need to look past working or having to cut short Christmas Day and make the most of the time that they do have together with their families.