Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA All-Star Game is still scheduled to take place in Atlanta and performers have been announced.
According to Deadline, pop singer Alessia Cara will sing the Canadian national anthem from Toronto and music legend Gladys Knight will perform the U.S. national anthem from the Atlanta arena. In addition, The Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem.
Deadline also reports more HBCUs will perform, “The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will perform during the NBA All-Star player introductions from their respective historical campuses. Throughout the match, members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities will introduce exciting performances by Atlanta’s step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been asking for no one to travel for the game and, according to NBC 11Alive’s Chenue Her on Feb. 16, she said, “I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party. There will be no sanctioned events open to the public and we strongly encourage promoters, clubs, bars, etc. not to host events in the city related to this game.”
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In early February, LeBron James said, “I don’t even understand why we’re having an All-Star Game.”
The NBA’s All-Star Weekend is a weekend-long festival that culminates with the main event, the NBA All-Star basketball game. The festivities — which have taken place for more than 60 years — showcase exhibitions, performances and basketball-themed competitions. The Slam Dunk contest and the Three-Point Shootout are among the most popular events in which NBA players participate. Usually in February, the proceedings provide an opportunity for friendly competition between players and lighthearted entertainment for basketball fans.
The NBA All-Star performances will air Sunday, Mar. 7 on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.