For many of us, the 2014 NBA All-Star Game halftime show is much more exciting than the game itself. New Orleans played host to the All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center, the second time in six years. The backdrop of New Orleans provided a strategic move for the NBA, who is trying to revitalize the city after Hurricane Katrina.
Music, an integral part of New Orleans history, played a major factor even before tip off. Kendrick Lamar performed before the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, while Pharrell Williams brought his infamous hat to New Orleans to get fans “Happy” during the pregame announcements. He also took both fans and viewers down memory lane, as musical guests Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Nelly, and Busta Rhymes joined him to run down the hits. Pharrell’s The Neptunes partner Chad Hugo produced the show.
The NBA, which usually draws on local artists to perform during halftime, chose to highlight New Orleans diverse influences during this year’s show.
During the halftime break, homegrown musician Trombone Shorty and his band, New Orleans Avenue, started the show off with the single “Bet You Like It.” Dr. John followed, battling some sound issues to deliver his set from behind the piano. Grammy Award winner Gary Clark, Jr. returned from performing the National Anthem to play a guitar solo. But the highlight and main act, in terms of mainstream recognition, was the pint-sized singer Janelle Monae, who delivered her single “Electric Lady” — minus recent New Orleans transplant Solange Knowles. Janelle then traded lines with the headlining act Earth Wind & Fire over “Shining Star.” The other featured musicians backed the band playing their instruments for the musical conclusion, clocking in over 13 minutes.
Oh yeah, for those interested, the East beat the West 163-155. Kyrie Irving was named 2014 All-Star MVP.