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Warriors-Rockets headlines NBA's Chinese New Year push

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

The Chinese New Year begins Feb. 8, and the NBA is using the holiday to continue to bridge the gap between the league and its prodigious number of fans in China and Asia at large.

On Tuesday, a year after they became the first teams in the NBA to wear jerseys commemorating the holiday, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets will play in Houston. This year, the Washington Wizards will join the Warriors and Rockets in wearing commemorative jerseys on select home dates.

The Rockets have been one of Asia's most popular NBA teams since Yao Ming arrived in 2002. The Warriors, of course, play one bridge away from San Francisco, a city with a 21 percent Asian populace. Last season, China even broadcast one of the reigning champion's games on CCTV.

Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, himself Asian-American, will also play Monday when Charlotte takes on Chicago. Lin told Hornets.com about looking forward to playing on the holiday.

"For me last year, I couldn't wear my [Chinese New Year] shoes to celebrate because I didn't have a game on Chinese New Year. Hopefully I'll be able to rock some more stuff [this year]," said Lin.

Last month, the league released an advertisement in which James Harden, Stephen Curry and Lin share a Chinese New Year family meal.


(One behind-the-scenes gallery features entertaining and candid shots of Lin in front of the green screen wrestling with that unwieldy dragon costume.)

According to the NBA, Chinese-American singer Lynn Lee will perform the national anthem before the Bulls-Hornets game.

Not all of the league's Chinese New Year promotions have been successful. The Sacramento Kings nixed a T-shirt giveaway celebrating the Year Of The Monkey after DeMarcus Cousins and others found them to be racially insensitive.