The Chinese New Year is set to take place this year on Saturday. NBA team Houston Rockets took to Twitter and wished their fans celebrating the Chinese New Year with a video that starred James Harden and Russell Westbrook. However, the Houston Rockets received backlash after the video was posted.
In the video, Harden and Westbrook thanked their Chinese fans for their love and support and wish them for the Chinese New Year. This tweet is months after the Houston Rockets' Hong Kong tweet which caused problems for the NBA's business in China. The video wishing Chinese New Year was posted on Friday (Saturday IST). Fans immediately retweeted the tweet, referring to the Rockets Hong Kong tweet and reminding them that Twitter is banned in China. Wishing fans for the Chinese New Year could be another attempt from the NBA and Houston Rockets to mend their relationship with their Chinese fans.
Please your Chinese overlords— Doctor Why 🏴☠️ (@NoEyeContact) January 24, 2020
Better red than dead, right Rockets?— Kimmy Jong (@thesmugglerdav1) January 24, 2020
translates to... "watch out for tanks" pic.twitter.com/MJ0TgduqOC— tommy bolt (@tomasbolt58) January 24, 2020
They won't see this, Twitter is banned in China ya dummies.— Kybernetx (@Kybernetx) January 24, 2020
Twitter is banned in China.— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) January 24, 2020
Last October, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong. Morey's tweet about the Hong Kong protestors received immense backlash from NBA fans in China and the Chinese government. NBA games were pulled off air by the government and sponsors suspended their contracts with the NBA.
The Rockets faced most of the backlash due to Morey's direct involvement in the controversy. Chinese company Alibaba and Nike China pulled Houston Rockets gear and merch off the shelves in protest. According to ESPN, the Houston Rockets faced losses of around $22 million as multi-year sponsorships deals were called off.
Morey issued an apology for the tweet. Even the team's front office did not support his tweet and team owner Tilman Fertitta publically criticized his comments. Prominent American politicians also called out the NBA because of the tweet since freedom of speech was not properly defended in it. However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended how the league handled the incident.