Gladys Knight and Alessia Cara will be among the artists set to perform for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta. The All-Star festivities will also include performances by HBCU musical groups, including marching bands, step teams, glee clubs and choirs.
Knight — an Atlanta native, seven-time Grammy winner and graduate of one of the nation’s oldest HBCUs, Shaw University — will sing the U.S. national anthem live from State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Knight, who is 76 years old, recently received the COVID-19 vaccine.) She will be followed by Cara, who will sing the Canadian national anthem remotely from Toronto.
Performances will begin airing at 8 p.m. on March 7, prior to tipoff on TNT.
The NBA will pay tribute throughout the night to the legacy of HBCUs. The Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will deliver a virtual performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” from an iconic location on the school’s campus. The performance will pay tribute to Clark Atlanta alum James Weldon Johnson, songwriter of the Black national anthem.
The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will perform remotely from their respective campuses during the NBA All-Star player introduction. During the game, step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College will be introduced by members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, a prestigious group of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations.
This year, for the first time, the NBA’s skills competitions — including the skills challenge and the three-point contest — will take place on the same night as the All-Star Game. The slam-dunk contest is scheduled to take place during halftime.