Country star Martina McBride, singer/actress Gloria Ruben ("ER," "The Agency"), Gladys Knight, and Kool & the Gang are the latest additions to the National Basketball Association's (NBA) 2003 All-
Country star Martina McBride, singer/actress Gloria Ruben ("ER," "The Agency"), Gladys Knight, and Kool & the Gang are the latest additions to the National Basketball Association's (NBA) 2003 All-Star Game entertainment lineup. McBride will perform the U.S. National Anthem prior to Sunday's (Feb. 9) game in Atlanta, joined by Toronto-born Ruben, who will perform the Canadian anthem.
Knight and Kool & the Gang will also be part of the pre-game activities. Knight will appropriately deliver her classic "Midnight Train to Georgia," while Robert "Kool" Bell will lead his troupe through their "Celebration" leading up to the introduction of the players.
As previously reported, Mariah Carey will provide halftime entertainment for the 52nd annual All-Star game on the court at the Phillips Arena. Carey will salute Michael Jordan with the planned performance of the ballad "Hero," and will also belt out "Boy (I Need You)" and "My Saving Grace" from her latest album, "Charmbracelet" (MonarC/Island).
"Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes that has ever lived and has done so much for basketball and the world of entertainment over the years," Carey said in a statement. "He is truly a hero and I am honored to perform this special tribute to him." The game and performances will be broadcast live on TNT in the U.S., and in 212 countries around the world.
The night prior to the big game, TNT will broadcast "NBA All-Star Saturday Night," a live event at Phillips Arena with games, skills challenges, and music featuring NBA stars past and present and a host of celebrities. A "retro"-theme opens the door for scheduled performances by disco diva Gloria Gaynor and classic rocker Meat Loaf. More up-to-date R&B newcomer Nivea will perform the U.S. National Anthem, while Sass Jordan will sing the Canadian anthem.
Soul legend and "South Park" voice Isaac Hayes will serve as the court commentator for the three-on-three Jeep All-Star Hoop-It Up game. Actors Ashton Kutcher ("That '70s Show") and Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle") will participate along with NBA and WNBA players, all of whom will wear Nike's NBARewind uniforms to extend the retro theme. NBA veterans Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, and Dee Brown will judge the annual Slam Dunk competition. The proceedings will get underway at 8 p.m. ET.
The day prior to the game will also boast Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, B2K, LL Cool J, Usher, and Doug E. Fresh taking part in the NBA's "Read To Achieve" charity event at the arena. The hour-long special will be broadcast live at noon ET on 12 networks, including ABC, TNT, Nickelodeon, BET, Disney Channel, Telemundo, and Canada's MuchMusic.
Additionally, Nelly, Ja Rule, Jermaine Dupri, the Clipse, and Nappy Roots will be among the artists performing at Club NBA, part of the associated four-day All-Star Jam Session kicking off today (Feb. 6) at Atlanta's city's Georgia World Congress Center. Others slated to appear on the Rbk- and Sprite-sponsored Club NBA stage through the weekend are Amerie, Jagged Edge, B2K, Mr. Cheeks, Cee-Lo, Floetry, Marvin Winans, Nivea, Field Mob, and Zane, as well as a host of local talent.