In celebration of the Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage month beginning in May, the NBA in collaboration with Jasper Wong and HYPERFLY created a capsule commemorating Asian culture.
Crimes targeting Asian Americans have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks incidents of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., reported over 3,800 instances of discrimination against Asians in the past year. The actual number could be much higher.
Therefore, when the NBA asked Jasper Wong and HYPERFLY to design and build a capsule of tees and hoodies representing their support for the Asian community and Asian culture, they took the responsibility on with the care and sensitivity it demands from an Asian-Centric perspective.
Jasper Wong, based out of Hawaii is an artist, illustrator, curator and art director. Jasper has exhibited worldwide, and has been selected on multiple occasions as one of the Best Illustrators worldwide. He has consecutively been chosen as one of 100 most influential figures in the industry, which includes the likes of Kaws, Pharrell, Banksy, Jay Z and Kanye West.
HYPERFLY started with it very humble beginnings handcrafting Jiu Jitsu kimonos. Today, HYPERFLY has expanded from the dojo to the street with its unconventional collaborations with Carhartt WIP, Champion, Jordan Brand and the Grateful Dead.
The NBA + JASPER + HYPERFLY capsule includes tees and hoodies featuring the NBA and WNBA leagues including symbols of Asian culture. Jasper in his own words describes the themes of the artwork he created for this project:
“Dragons and phoenixes are a staple of many Asian cultures. The dragon represents good luck, strength, and health. Oftentimes people that live in excellence and perform outstanding feats are compared to dragons. Whereas the phoenix is centered around high virtues and grace. The various aspects of the phoenix hold meaning, such as the head being "virtue", the wing is "duty", the back is "propriety", the abdomen is "credibility", and the chest is "mercy". All of these, very much speak to the players of the NBA and WNBA.”
An old Chinese proverb once said, "when the dragon soars and the phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven."
The basketballs have symbols embedded into them, each one speaks to luck, prosperity, and longevity. With the ying-yang symbol speaking to unity. These are the chief wishes that Chinese people wish upon each other for a happy and balanced life.
Every aspect of these designs aims to imbue these qualities and wishes upon the wearer and those around them. In hopes that we all rise together.”
The NBA, HYPERFLY AND JASPER WONG will donate proceeds to programs that invest in research to understand, address, and end bias, discrimination and xenophobia, against AAPI communities.
The STOP ASIAN HATE NBA capsule is now available here.