NBA players aren’t the only ones planning to jam this weekend, as Shaggy, Dream, O-Town, Sisqó, Jessica Simpson and Harry Connick Jr. are among the artists lined up to take part in the events surrounding the 50th annual NBA All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.
Pop patriot Simpson will perform the national anthem prior to tip-off at Sunday’s game at the MCI Center, while Deborah Cox will sing Canada’s national anthem at the event.
Retro crooner Harry Connick Jr. will lead the game’s halftime extravaganza as both featured performer and creative director. With a 15-piece big band in tow, Connick will perform a musical arrangement honoring All-Star MVPs from the past 50 years, including Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Julius “Dr. J” Irving, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson.
At the previous night’s flashy skills competitions, R&B songstress Mya will do the “Star-Spangled” honors, while Chantal Kreviazuk is slated to sing “O, Canada.”
Prior to the on-court action, O-Town will get the party started on Thursday with an engagement at the newly christened “Club NBA” as part of the eight-year-old NBA All-Star Jam Session, held this year at the Washington Convention Center.
Other artists scheduled to perform under the Club NBA banner include the Transitions and VP-215 (Thursday); Avant and Dave Hollister (Friday); Jagged Edge, Lil’ Bow Wow, Lil’ Zane and Dream (Saturday); and Silkk the Shocker, De la Soul and Shaggy (Sunday).
Aside from the music, the Jam Session invites fans to practice their slam-dunk skills, launch jump shots from a trampoline, play bungee basketball and test their trivia skills, among other activities.
On Friday, the spotlight will be on basketball star and part-time rapper Shaquille O’Neal when he’s roasted at D.C.’s National Museum of Women in the Arts. Participating in the Dean Martin-inspired event will be Queen Latifah and Adam Sandler, among others, according to a spokesperson for the event. Kelly Price will perform and Gerald Levert, Treach of Naughty by Nature, Jermaine Dupri, MC Lyte, Mystikal, Ludacris, and omnipresent producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are scheduled to be on hand for the verbal Shaq attack, and a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be dispersed among five charities.
Mya, Simpson, Dream, O-Town and Sisqó will do double-time with performances at the fifth annual NBA TeamUp Celebration, taking place at Constitution Hall on Saturday. The event honors the work of teen volunteers who have collectively donated more than one million hours of community service through the NBA’s TeamUp program. Others attending the celebration include Queen Latifah, Aaron Carter, MTV personalities Carson Daly and Ananda Lewis, NBA stars Vince Carter, Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady, and WNBA hoopsters Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray.
The TeamUp Celebration will be broadcast live beginning at 12 p.m. (ET) on NBC, TNT, BET, Nickelodeon and NBA.com TV; the All-Star Game hits the airwaves at 6 p.m. (ET) Sunday on NBC.