With a celebrity-studded crowd looking on, Rihanna rocked the halftime show at the NBA All-Star game on her 23rd birthday.
She had other big names helping her sing her hits Sunday, with Drake joining in on “What’s My Name?” and working “happy birthday” into the lyrics. Dripping in gold chains, a red-clad Kanye West came out for “All of the Lights.”
At halftime, the lights inside Staples Center went out and the video screens filled with water droplets, setting the stage for Rihanna to emerge from behind a wall singing “Umbrella.”
The red-haired singer soon shed her short black suit jacket and white scarf to reveal a short black skirt and a rhinestone halter. She shimmied her way through “Only Girl (In the World)” and didn’t flinch when her huge hoop earring fell off her left ear in mid-song.
While it was a working day for Rihanna, her fellow music stars relaxed in their seats while watching the 60th annual All-Star game. The West team, led by Kobe Bryant’s 37 points, defeated the East 148-143.
Beyonce and hubby Jay-Z sat courtside, with Justin Bieber ( MVP of Friday’s All-Star celebrity game) two seats away. Sean “Diddy” Combs, Stevie Wonder (wearing headphones), Grammy winner Bruno Mars, Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo, Gene Simmons, and “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler were scattered around the arena. Rapper Nicki Minaj snacked on pink cotton candy.
Later, Rihanna sat courtside next to 16-year-old Bieber, making for a striking contrast between her flaming long hair and his famous shaggy ‘do.
Canadian singer Melanie Fiona sang her country’s national anthem, and Los Angeles native Josh Groban did the U.S. anthem. With plenty of fog swirling, Lenny Kravitz played during the pregame introductions.
Among the movie and TV stars in attendance were Dustin Hoffman, Spike Lee, Warren Beatty, Rick Fox and girlfriend-actress Eliza Dushku, and Nick Cannon (without wife Mariah Carey). CNN talk show host Piers Morgan furiously worked his cell phone during most of the action.
Snoop Dogg, Terrell Owens, Chris Tucker, tennis star Venus Williams, and actors Forest Whitaker, Noah Wyle and Ellen Pompeo took in the show, too. Los Angeles Lakers fan Jack Nicholson was bumped out of his usual courtside seat.
Actress Gabrielle Union walked the magenta carpet outside the arena before the game, dishing on her boyfriend, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
“His closet is way bigger than mine. He’s way, way, way into clothes that his closet is like five times the size of mine,” Union said.
Wade loves different scents, too.
“He is a little bit obsessed with the smell of cocoa butter. He loves it for himself,” she said. “He’s got, I think, over 30 different colognes.”
If the fashion police had been on patrol, they might have cited former NBA great Darryl Dawkins.
Standing 6-foot-11, the man nicknamed “Chocolate Thunder” for his ferocious dunking ability made an even louder statement by wearing a lime-colored pinstriped suit.
As soon as Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard spotted Dawkins, he couldn’t help but offer a critique.
“He looks like a big lizard. Aw-w-w, man,” Howard said. “I thought last night’s suit was terrible, but then he came out today looking like a highlighter? That’s probably one of the worst suits I’ve ever seen in my life.”
While Howard and many of the other arriving NBA players dressed up in suits and ties, Lakers star Bryant dressed down in jeans and a black leather jacket.