The Sacramento Kings celebrated the Lunar New Year during their game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, but they canceled a planned T-shirt giveaway when superstar DeMarcus Cousins reportedly said the shirts were racially insensitive.
Bucks TV analyst Marques Johnson provided the details on his Facebook page: "I walk into the building and DeMarcus Cousins calls me over to an animated discussion he's having with Kings operations people. He [asks] me, 'Olskool, what you think about this T-shirt? Told him a little insensitive on first day of Black History Month.' They pulled the shirts."
The Chinese Year of the Monkey starts Feb. 8, but Monday was the first day of Black History Month. ESPN.com reported "players and coaches were wearing shirts in honor" of Black History Month on Monday.
James Ham of CSN Bay Area tweeted an image of the shirt Sacramento had planned to give to fans as part of the Lunar New Year celebration:
James Ham @James_HamNBCS
Lunar New Year celebration tonight at Sleep Train Arena. cc: @kfippin https://t.co/P4AzTNuyj32016-2-2 00:00:26
Johnson shared an image of the workers in the stadium removing the shirts and thanked Cousins for speaking up:
Marques Johnson @olskool888
Good move Kings. Year of Monkey Tees on 1 st day of Black History Month not a good look. Thanks DeMarcus... https://t.co/wvqkdgdr7r2016-2-2 01:33:26
ESPN.com also reported every team in the league "must commemorate the Chinese New Year in some fashion," and citing the Sacramento Bee, it noted the rest of the celebration continued.
The Kings won the game, 111-104, though Cousins did not play because of a sprained left ankle.