Sports: Houston Rockets to Wear Lunar New Year Uniforms at 3 Games

National Basketball Association

The Houston Rockets wear uniforms with a Chinese theme during 3 home games during this year’s Lunar New Year season in a week-long celebration of Chinese culture – and the team’s massive Chinese fan base.

The Houston Rockets will wear Lunar New Year jerseys during 3 games this season: the Saturday 21 February basketball game against the Toronto Rapters, the Monday 23 February basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Wednesday 25 basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

All 3 of the basketball games will be played at home at Toyota Center, home of the NBA Houston Rockets.

The game coincide with the basketball team’s week-long celebration of the Lunar New Year, a..k.a. Chinese New Year.

“The Lunar New Year uniforms represent a great opportunity to honour our incredibly loyal and passionate fans throughout China,” says Houston Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander.

“From the time the Rockets participated in the first live NBA television broadcast in China on June 8, 1994, to my selecting Shanghai’s native son Yao Ming with the first overall selection of the 2002 NBA Draft, to our participation in the first NBA China Games in 2004, the Rockets have always enjoyed a very special bond with our fans across the region.

“We are thrilled and humbled to establish the Lunar New Year uniforms as a way to honor the culture, heritage and historical and future connection we’ll always enjoy with our Chinese fans.”

Yao Ming

The Rockets were established in 1967 and played in San Diego, California, for 4 years before moving to Houston, Texas, in 1971.

The Rockets recruited Yao Ming, a 7 foot, 6 inch Chinese centre, in the 2002 NBA Draft. Ming played for the Rockets from 2003 through 2009 and again in 2011.

The addition of Yao Ming to the Rockets’ roster was instrumental in helping to build a significant NBA fan base in Greater China, and the Houston Rockets are surely one of the most popular NBA franchises in the country.

“It brings great joy to me to see the Houston Rockets honour one of my country’s most important traditions,” Yao Ming says.

“Mr. Alexander and the Rockets have long embraced our culture and customs and made basketball fans in China a part of the Rockets community. I’m excited to ring in the Year of the Goat watching the Rockets wear the Lunar New Year uniforms.”

Comment and Analysis

If you compare the Houston Rockets Lunar New Year uniforms with the Golden State Warriors Lunar New Year uniforms, there is no question that the Rockets uniforms are far more “Chinese” looking.

But this is what I don’t get.

The official colours of the Houston Rockets were formerly Red and Mustard. Mustard coloured material  looks like gold, and nothing could be more Chinese than Red and Gold.

If the team REALLY wanted to “embrace” Chinese culture, perhaps they should have reverted to those Red and Gold – at least during the Lunar New Year celebrations.

If they were to do it year round, WOW! I can assure you, their Chinese fan base would lift off like a moon-bound rocket!


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