Known for their ties to China, which has grown contentious on and off the court, the NBA treated its fans to several traditional Chinese New Year festivities.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang was introduced on screen, praising the strong connection between the Association and the Chinese market.
The theme of the Wizards’ home game was promoted under the banner of CNY but was met with criticism for its simplification of the Lunar New Year festival that spans across East and Southeast Asian countries.
Prior to tipoff, the festivities included a recreation of the United States national anthem using a pipa, a traditional Chinese-style lute.
The website for theEmbassy of the People’s Republic of Chinahighlighted the event as “Chinese Cultural Night” and spoke on the promotion of Chinese tradition from Capital One Arena in Washington.
“The Arena was rich in Chinese culture atmosphere, and the event is filled with festive elements of the Chinese New Year,” noted the message.
The Wizards infamously blew a 35-point lead to the Clippers that evening, 116-115.
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