Gladys Knight, Alessia Cara, Clark Atlanta choir to perform at All-Star game

012721 Atlanta: An Atlanta Hawks fan arrives for the game against the Brooklyn Nets in an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Atlanta.    Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
012721 Atlanta: An Atlanta Hawks fan arrives for the game against the Brooklyn Nets in an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA All-Star game will look quite different this year, with just about 1,200-1,500 people in State Farm Arena’s stands for the one-day affair March 7.

The game will highlight historically Black colleges and universities, and the small crowd will include students/staff from HBCUs, local health-care heroes and family and close friends of All-Star players, who were announced Tuesday.

All-Star coverage on TNT begins at 5 p.m., and the skills challenge and 3-point contest will start at 6:30 p.m.

Before the game begins, seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight, a graduate of Shaw University, one of the oldest HBCUs in the nation, will sing the national anthem live from the arena. Grammy winner Alessia Cara will sing the Canadian anthem from Toronto. There won’t be a traditional halftime show, with the dunk contest taking place at that time, as the NBA compresses a long weekend of events into one night.

The league will honor HBCUs throughout the night, and from its campus, the Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will perform an original rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” honoring Clark Atlanta alum, NAACP leader and Black national anthem songwriter James Weldon Johnson.

From their campuses, Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will play during player introductions, and throughout the game, members of the Divine Nine, historically Black Greek letter organizations, will introduce step teams from local HBCUs Spelman and Morehouse, who will be performing at the arena.

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