NBA aiming to slam-dunk Chinese New Year festivities

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Performers stage a dragon dance to celebrate Spring Festival as the Golden State Warriors hosts Philadelphia 76ers in Oakland, the United States, on Feb 1, 2019 [Photo/Xinhua]

The National Basketball Association announced that the ninth NBA Chinese New Year Celebration (Jan 21-Feb 9) will include all 30 of the league's franchises and feature new television and digital productions.

The teams will celebrate Chinese New Year with various in-game elements, fan giveaways, musical performances, social media content, Chinese food, courtside signage, concourse decorations and sponsor events.

Former NBA champions Bruce Bowen, Shawn Marion and Alonzo Mourning, as well as eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, visited China last week to start the festivities early, conduct basketball clinics and interact with underprivileged children.

On Thursday, the NBA debuted three television and digital spots in China featuring some of the league's biggest stars as part of its "Holiday Heroes" series.

In Sketches, two-time All-Star Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers makes a surprise visit to a fan's home. Six-time All-Star Paul George stars in a piece entitled Bus Ball, with the Los Angeles Clippers forward coming to life from a magazine advertisement. In Morning Game, 2018 All-Rookie First Team and Slam Dunk champion Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz helps a mother wake her son to watch NBA games.

Major matchups

The celebrations officially tip off on Jan 20 as the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers visit the Boston Celtics in their first matchup of the season. The 20-daylong festivities will close with the visit of Kawhi Leonard's high-flying Clippers to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

'Season of Giving'

As part of the NBA Cares Season of Giving initiative, NBA China will conduct 20 "legacy projects" throughout the year, including donating equipment and educational resources to underprivileged schools in Sanya, Haikou and Ding'an in Hainan province, Neijiang in Sichuan province, Shanghai and Beijing.

TV treats

A new series called Basketball Love, featuring stories of basketball's impact across China, will debut on Jan 17. Subsequent episodes will air every other day on the NBA's official social media platforms in China throughout the Chinese New Year.

The documentaries will include a look back at the Washington Bullets' historic visit to China in 1979 with never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews, the inspiring tale of a junior NBA basketball squad in Sichuan, and a profile of community hero Mr. Tang, who has taught basketball and math at a rural school for the past 38 years.

Other special programming will include a special Chinese New Year-themed edition of NBA Study Hall, a new NBA China-produced daily digital show, and the roll-out of the six-episode Junior Jump Squad animation series.

Online fun

Beginning on Jan 18, fans will be able to participate in the "Shoot for the New Year" social media campaign on Douyin, including a player-led fan challenge. From Jan 20, fans can also join the "NBA CNY Red Envelope" sweepstakes on Weibo to win Chinese New Year-themed gift packs and NBA merchandise and apparel.

On the NBA App, fans can also play a special Chinese New Year-themed "Pick 'Em" contest to win special prizes.

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