Basketball was clearly the main attraction at NBA All-Star Weekend, but there was also plenty of music to go around, as everyone from Rihanna and Kanye West to Lenny Kravitz and Cee Lo Green performed at events tied to the three-day extravaganza. Through it all, Billboard.com was front and center, experiencing the prime All-Star Weekend experience available to American Express cardmembers through its Entertainment Series package. These were the five music moments that made our highlight reel:
Photos: Music Stars At NBA All-Star Weekend
1) Rihanna, Drake & Kanye Rock the Halftime Show
Beginning with her 2007 Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Umbrella,” the Bajan native ran through five of her biggest hits during the All-Star Game halftime show on Sunday night. She surprised the sold-out crowd at L.A.’s Staples Center by bringing out Drake for “What’s My Name?” and Kanye West for the first live performance of his current single “All of the Lights,” on which she is featured.
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2) Lenny Kravitz Debuts New Music
Before Rihanna took the stage, the All-Star Game kicked off with rocker Lenny Kravitz, who performed three high-energy songs during player introductions. Fan favorites like “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” and “Fly Away” thrilled the crowd, and Kravitz’s new song “Come On Get It,” from his upcoming album “Black & White America,” accompanied them perfectly. The day before, Kravitz participated in a meet and greet session in the Chairman’s Club and spoke to Billboard.com about his new material, saying, “After being in the studio for like a year and a half…it’s great to get back out there and bring the music out.”
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3) Cali Swag District Sets Off a Synchronized ‘Dougie’
At the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam on Friday, Cali Swag District performed its dance craze-fueling hit, “Teach Me How to Dougie.” The group rocked the crowd of high-achieving students from middle schools throughout Los Angeles County with high energy and…synchronized dougie-ing! (Yes, this was as great as it sounds.) The only bigger hit with the kids than CSD? Hometown favorite and All-Star Rookie Blake Griffin, who prompted chants of, “We want Blake!” throughout the night.
4) Cee Lo and Far East Movement Show Their Skills
NBA All-Star Saturday Night began with American Express’ cardmembers and invited media being ushered to premier seats right by the stage, offering an up-close look at Cee Lo Green and his all-female band’s “F**k You (Forget You)” performance before the Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout. Far*East Movement also showcased its latest single “Rocketeer,” featuring special guest Miguel, before the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.
5) Blake Griffin Learns How to ‘Fly’
Los Angeles Clipper star Blake Griffin dunked over a car (a Kia, for all you product placement-watchdogs out there), to the sounds of a gospel choir singing R. Kelly’s anthem, “I Believe I Can Fly.” The only thing that would have turned this into even more of a show-stopping spectacle was the presence of Kells himself. Clearly, Griffin won the competition.