Golden State Warriors have close to 2 million followers on Chinese social media site Weibo – more than any other NBA team. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Filipinos, Chinese and plenty of other Southeast Asians are following Golden State Warriors as fervently, if not even more passionately, than fans in the Bay Area. The reigning champions are breaking through barriers, proving that the NBA is no longer just a local American league.
Over the years, globally-recognized icons such as Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant have helped popularize the beautiful sport of basketball. Then in 2002, a new ground was broken when China’s Yao Ming was drafted No 1 overall by Houston Rockets. Ever since Ming became a household name in the U.S., there has been an influx of more Asian players in the NBA.
Today, over 300 international players are actively playing in the league.
The Warriors have catered to its vast global fan base like no other team. For more than six decades, the Bay Area has been more than hospitable to plenty of Asian-Americans. It’s only natural that today, Warriors, perceived as more than just a ball club, is taking care of its various communities.
Chinese New Year
Earlier this year, on February 20, the Warriors celebrated Chinese New Year with special jerseys (as seen in the picture above) to commemorate the occasion. The game was simulcast Live on CCTV in China. For several months, the jersey was the most sought-after merchandise item on the NBA store. Warriors will continue the Chinese New Year tradition this season too during three different games, starting with a trip to New York on February 1. “The meaning of a Warrior certainly translates into the Chinese culture well as they are very familiar with what being a warrior means,” Rick Welts, the team’s president and chief operating officer, said at the time. “I think they’d (Chinese fans) be hard-pressed to make a similar connection to the Lakers.”
“The Asian American population is very important to us. We’re the Bay Area’s NBA team, and we’re very bullish on building a stronger relationship (with our Asian fans),” said Chip Bowers, Warriors’ chief marketing officer.
Filipino Heritage Night
This year, for the seventh season in succession, #DubNation celebrated Filipino Heritage Night earlier this week in a game against Brooklyn Nets. However, for the first time ever, the NBA allowed Warriors to celebrate the occasion by wearing special edition Filipino Heritage Night shooting shirts (see tweet below) prior to the game.
As part of the celebration, #DubNation hosted a pregame tailgate, featuring popular Filipino food trucks as well as live entertainment. Did you miss Saturday night’s festivities? Don’t worry. There will be a second Filipino Heritage Night on Friday, March 25, 2016 against the Dallas Mavericks.
A portion of the proceeds from each Filipino Heritage Night event has been donated to support local Filipino organizations in the Bay Area.