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NBA APEX team hosts AAPI Sports and Culture Symposium

The NBA will host the AAPI Sports and Culture Symposium for the first time at the NBA’s New York office to celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander representation in the sports world.

The NBA APEX team introduces a collaboration with Authmade as one of their many May initiatives.

During the month of May, the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL highlight and showcase AAPI (Asian American & Pacific Islander) representation in sports and media. In 2018, employee resource affinity groups within the major U.S. professional sports leagues launched the AAPI Sports and Culture Symposium to further this cause.

For the first time since the launch, the NBA APEX team will be hosting the in-person event consisting of panelists and AAPI representatives from vast sports and media backgrounds.

Some notable representatives include Lo Van Pham, 1st Asian American NFL Official, Donny Khan, Sr. Director of NHL Hockey Development & Strategic Collaboration, Kelsie Whitmore, a half-Filipino minor league baseball player for the Staten Island Ferry Hawks, and Kianna Smith, the first Korean American WNBA player for the Connecticut Sun.

The speakers will be given a chance to share what it means to be a part of the AAPI family and how their experiences on the court, field, ice or office have inspired AAPI growth in the sports industry.

Established in 2017, APEX is committed to promoting and celebrating Asian cultures within the NBA, with a focus on engagement, inclusion, and league advocacy of Asian professionals. They specifically focus their programming around four strategic areas: professional and leadership development, enhancing industry knowledge, networking and mentorship opportunities, and cultural and community outreach.

“We want to use this time to celebrate and honor AAPI professionals who are committed to greater diversity and inclusion in the industry, both on-and-off the court,” said APEX Co-Chairs Cassidy Rooke and Casie Mei.

The AAPI community has experienced strong representation and movement coming out of the pandemic in 2020. We saw the cinematic industry push films with major Asian American roles in movies like Crazy Rich Asians, Jeremy Lin Documentary, and ‘Chang Can Dunk’ a new film featured on Disney.

“Overall, we have seen a lot of progress and movement in the community, but there is still more to be done” says the APEX co-chairs.

The 2023 AAPI Sports and Media Symposium will be held in New York City on May 24.

One of the additions this May is the collaboration with Authmade, an AAPI-owned brand based out of California. Authmade recently released a collection featuring unique pieces that symbolize Asian Heritage etched into the designs.

Authmade has partnered with the NBA and WNBA to introduce their new “Heirloom Collection”. The pieces include a track jacket, pullover hoodies, and heavyweight T-shirts that draw inspiration from the individual accounts of family heirlooms across history, culture and custom. The collection comes off the backend of the Lunar New Year collection they released earlier this year in January.

The NBA Heirloom track jacket and WNBA pullover hoodie include distinct color schemes and artwork to fully grasp the bright, lively and strong heritage that stems from the AAPI communities. Utilizing strong red and jade green tones mixed with gold accents gives the collection a rich and generational feel.

The Heirloom Collection is now available on,, and on

“Every Heirloom has a unique story that helps preserve a family’s history, heritage and tradition,” said Creative Director Jason Vu. “We want to honor our ancestors and the generations that came before us, and help inspire and pave the way for the next generations to come.”

The majority of the proceeds from this collection will be donated to Apex for Youth, a nonprofit organization that works on empowering underserved Asian and immigrant youth from low-income communities in the NYC area.

The Symposium will cap off a month of education, recognition, and emphasis on AAPI heritage and their involvement and impact in the sports space and surrounding communities.