With the NBA All-Star game right around the corner, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced that legendary soul singer and seven-time GRAMMY Award-winner Gladys Knight will be performing the United States national anthem at its annual showcase.
Just last week, the NBA announced that NBA All-Star 2021 will be held on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home of the Atlanta Hawks. With this announcement, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) also revealed that they will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). They are also announcing that they are also supporting and bringing awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief, and vaccines.
Knight, who is a graduate of one of the oldest HBCUs in the nation, Shaw University, will sing the U.S. national anthem live at the NBA All-Star 2021 taking place at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. GRAMMY Award winner and singer-songwriter Alessia Cara will also sing the Canadian national anthem from Toronto. The anthems will air on Sunday, March 7 on TNT ahead of the 70th NBA All-Star Game, with AT&T Slam Dunk replacing the traditional halftime show.
🌟 NBA All-Star Performers 🌟
Seven-time GRAMMY Award winner @MsGladysKnight, who graduated from Shaw University, one of the oldest HBCUs in the nation, will sing the U.S. national anthem at NBA All-Star 2021 live from State Farm Arena in Atlanta. #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/JvEY6rGlez
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 23, 2021
The league also announced the participation of several HBCUs for the All-Star Game.
The league will pay tribute to the vital role that HBCUs have at institutions and the culture of higher education through music, content, and storytelling. The Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will perform an original rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which will be done from the campus. The rendition will honor NAACP leader and Black national anthem songwriter James Weldon Johnson, who is also a Clark Atlanta alumnus.
The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will also play during NBA All-Star player introductions from their respective historical campuses. Members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, a prestigious group of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations, will introduce Atlanta’s most reputable step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College.
The NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions will take place on the same night for the first time. TNT’s coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.