A soulful national anthem, performed by Gladys Knight, kicked off the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday (March 7).
Knight, accompanied by an organist, delivered her take on the U.S. standard in front of the American flag for basketball’s big night, live from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her performance dazzled Twitter, with one person noting, “Gladys Knight just rarefied the National Anthem. Refined it and made it complex,” and another tweeting, “Gladys Knight done caught the holy ghost singing the national anthem.”
“Gladys Knight just be casually reminding folks she got the the voice,” another reaction read.
Also on the musical lineup for the night, Alessia Cara performed a smooth rendition of the Canadian national anthem, singing live remotely from Toronto.
The NBA honored HBCUs throughout the evening, with scheduled performances by the Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir, the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band, the Florida A&M University Marching 100 and step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College.
Below, watch Knight sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a clip that was posted on the official NBA Twitter account after the performance aired on TNT.
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2021