Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Thompson and KUN headline 8th NBA Chinese New Year Celebration

15 teams host in-arena celebrations, KUN 1st NBA CNY brand ambassador

BEIJING AND NEW YORK — The National Basketball Association announced Thursday the league will once again celebrate the Chinese New Year with fans around the world from Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Monday, Feb. 18. As part of the NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2019, the league will debut a trio of new multi-platform series featuring three 2018 NBA All-Stars, broadcast more than 65 games in Greater China throughout the 20-day celebration, and see a record 15 NBA teams host in-arena activities to celebrate the festivities.

To tip off the campaign, a series of television spots titled “When it Begins,” “Favorite Part,” and “So Special” launched today starring two-time NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, three-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, four-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Champion Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, and Chinese singer and NBA Chinese New Year Celebration Brand Ambassador KUN (Cai Xukun). This marks the first time that the campaign has featured a Chinese celebrity.

Former NBA player and 2011 NBA Champion Jason Terry is visiting China this week to celebrate the festivities with fans. Terry conducted basketball clinics and met and interacted with underprivileged children in Changsha, Hunan and Beijing.

During the NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2019, fans in Greater China will be able to watch more than 65 live games on CCTV, Tencent, BesTV, Guangdong Radio and Television, GreatSports, Videoland, ELTA, Eleven Sports, Sports 2 World, Migu C and ViuTV.

“When It Begins,” “Favorite Part” and “So Special” – NBA Chinese New Year Television Spots:

Antetokounmpo, Lillard and Thompson star alongside KUN in a new multiplatform series to celebrate the NBA and the holidays with family. The spots highlight the best parts of Chinese New Year, where everyone joins the conversation to share what they are most excited about for the holidays, whether it is coming together with family or watching the games. From train trips home to big meals with family, “When It Begins” celebrates the start of Chinese New Year. From family reunions to nighttime fireworks, “Favorite Part” celebrates the best parts of Chinese New Year. From envelopes filled with gifts to homes filled with decorations, “So Special” celebrates the traditions of Chinese New Year.

Key Chinese New Year Matchups

The NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2019 broadcast schedule will tip off with a doubleheader on Wednesday, Jan. 30 featuring the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston Rockets followed by the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers. The broadcast schedule will also include the following marquee matchups; please check NBA.com for local broadcasting listings:

  • Feb. 1 – Philadelphia 76ers vs. Golden State Warriors: Joel Embiid and the 76ers take on Stephen Curry and the Warriors wearing their Chinese-inspired City Edition jerseys for the first time this season
  • Feb. 2 – Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets: James Harden and the Rockets, wearing their new Chinese character City Edition jerseys for the first time, visit the Nuggets
  • Feb. 3 – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors: The Lakers visit Golden State to face Kevin Durant and the Warriors for their third matchup of the season
  • Feb. 6 – Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Eastern Conference foes battle as Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors visit Embiid and the 76ers
  • Feb. 8 – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics: The Lakers take on Kyrie Irving and the Celtics for the first time this season
  • Feb. 13 – Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics: Atlantic Division rivals tangle in Boston in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals
  • Feb. 14 – Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Klay Thompson and the Warriors visit Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers
  • Feb. 18 – NBA All-Star Game 2019: The 68th annual NBA All-Star Game will take place in Charlotte

In-Arena Activities and Nike City Edition Uniforms

  • A record 15 NBA teams will be hosting Chinese New Year-themed celebrations in their home arenas, including the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards.

    The teams will celebrate the holiday with various in-game elements, fan giveaways, musical performances, special content, dancers, food, courtside signage, concourse decorations and partner activations.

  • The Warriors and the Rockets will wear Nike City Edition uniforms with Chinese characters and symbolism inspired by Chinese culture to pay tribute to Chinese fans.

Chinese New Year Interactive Social Campaigns

  • Fans will be able to participate in a series of “NBA Chinese New Year Money Ball” social campaigns across NBA China’s platforms, including a trivia contest on Toutiao beginning Jan. 23 and a CNY fan challenge on Douyin from Feb. 5-7.
  • The #UnlockYourCNYFortune# campaign will enable fans to receive lucky fortunes and win prizes via Tmall, Taobao, Youku and UC beginning Jan. 18.
  • During the “NBA CNY Red Envelope” sweepstakes campaign on Weibo from Jan. 25 – Feb. 18, fans can win Chinese New Year-themed gift packs and NBA-licensed merchandise and apparel.

Executive and Player Quotes

“Chinese New Year is a global event, and the NBA is thrilled to bring joy and basketball to our fans as they celebrate the holiday with their families,” said NBA China CEO Derek Chang. “It’s great to see more players and teams joining the celebration and engaging with our passionate Chinese fans in authentic ways.”

“Participating in the NBA Chinese New Year campaign has been such a great experience and opportunity to learn more about Chinese New Year traditions,” said Antetokounmpo. “I’m looking forward to playing during the holiday period and putting on a show for all my fans.”

“It’s my honor to help celebrate the game globally, especially with the millions of passionate fans in China,” said Lillard. “I am glad I got to learn how to wish fans in China happy Chinese New Year in their own language and am excited to bring them the best of basketball action during this exciting time of the year.”

“I am happy to celebrate Chinese New Year with the fans in China,” said Thompson. “I love being able to meet my Chinese fans each summer and appreciate this chance to give my new year’s blessings during this festive time in such a fun, unique way.”

“I am honored to be part of the NBA Chinese New Year celebration and glad to have the chance to share my love of basketball with all the NBA fans,” said KUN. “I want to wish everybody a happy Chinese New Year and hope everyone can celebrate the holiday together with the game of basketball.”


The NBA’s entity that conducts all of the league’s businesses in China was formed in January 2008 after its first office opened in Hong Kong in 1992. The NBA currently has relationships with a network of television and digital media outlets in China, including a 30-plus years partnership with CCTV. The league hosts hundreds of touring basketball events for fans, conducts community enrichment programs, and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of world-class China-based and international corporations.

NBA licensed merchandise are available through retail and authorized online stores on e-commerce and social media platforms, including NBAStore.cn, NBA.Tmall.com, NBA.JD.com, NBAStore.hk and NBAStore.tw. In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China. Following NBA China Games 2018, 17 NBA teams have played 26 games in China.