The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Gladys Knight, 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. In addition, GRAMMY Award winner and singer-songwriter Alessia Cara will 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.
Throughout the night, the league will pay tribute to the vital role of HBCUs through music, content and storytelling, including an original rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by the Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir, which will sing from an iconic location on its campus. The rendition will honor NAACP leader and Black national anthem songwriter James Weldon Johnson, who is also a Clark Atlanta alumnus.
Additionally, the nationally-recognized Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will play during NBA All-Star player introductions from their respective historical campuses. Throughout the game, 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.
As previously announced, 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.
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