Philadelphia will host dozens of all-stars next month of the basketball and the musical variety.
As has been the case in recent years, the National Basketball Association's All-Star Weekend will attract a hotbed of artists from the pop, hip-hop and R&B worlds. Among the performers lined up for various activities and parties are Elton John, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Britney Spears, City High and Fabolous.
John will perform at the weekend's flagship event: the 2002 All-Star Game at the First Union Center on February 10. He will sing "Philadelphia Freedom" during choreographed introductions of the all-stars before the tip-off, as well as his new single, "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore," and his classic "I'm Still Standing" at halftime.
The 51st NBA All-Star Game, including John's performances and a yet-to-be-announced national anthem singer, will be broadcast live on NBC in the U.S., CTV in Canada, and in 210 countries around the world at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Combs, Enrique Iglesias, Alicia Keys and Lil' Bow Wow will join Britney Spears in a February 9 television special organized by the NBA to promote literacy (see "Britney Spears To Perform At NBA All-Star Literacy Event").
"The NBA All-Star Read to Achieve Celebration" will also include appearances by Carson Daly and actor Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle"). The show, which will be broadcast at 11:00 a.m. ET on NBC, TNT, Nickelodeon, Nick GAS, BET and NBA.com TV in the U.S. and MuchMusic in Canada, will feature Spears singing "Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" and Bow Wow rapping "Take Me Home." (MTV's parent company, Viacom, also owns Nickelodeon, Nick GAS and BET.)
While the Read to Achieve event is not open to the public, tickets are available for the NBA All-Star Jam Session, the NBA's basketball theme park that will invade the Pennsylvania Convention Center from February 7 to February 10. Fabolous, City High, Naughty by Nature, Warren G, Fat Joe, Glenn Lewis, Jaguar Wright, Ruff Endz, Koffee Brown, Toya and others will perform on the Jam Session's Club NBA stage. Tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster or on NBA.com.
Justin Timberlake and Brian McKnight will also be part of the NBA's official activities, joining hoops stars and legends (including Earvin "Magic" Johnson) in the inaugural 989 Sports' All-Star Hoop-It-Up tournament. The games, which will put a celebrity, an NBA star, a WNBA star and an NBA legend on each team, will be held at the First Union Center on February 9.
Perhaps more happening than the NBA events are the dozens of parties that will be held in Philadelphia over All-Star Weekend.
On February 7, former En Vogue/Lucy Pearl singer Dawn Robinson, Bilal and Philadelphia's own Amel Larrieux will perform at the fourth annual NBA All-Star pre-party at Polly Esther's, while Biz Markie, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ludacris and Mr. Cheeks perform at the Will Smith & Friends party at Electric Factory.
Biz Markie is scheduled to DJ at no less than a half dozen parties, including P. Diddy's All-Star Lounge hosted by P.D., Magic Johnson and Jermaine Dupri at the Franklin Institute on February 8. Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick will take the stage at the second P. Diddy's All-Star Lounge party the following night.
Also on February 8 and 9 is Sega Sports' Philly All-Star Concert featuring Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Bilal, the Roots, Jaguar Wright, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Kindred performing at the Electric Factory.
The Second Annual Hoop Magic Celebrity Basketball Game, with Master P, Silkk the Shocker, Boyz II Men, Jaheim and Missy Elliott participating and Ludacris and Tank performing at halftime, will take place February 8 at the Liacouras Center.
February 8 will also see the Cash Money Millionaires and the Neptunes hit the NBA All-Star Spangled Banner Bash at Deco Night Club; Funkmaster Flex at FUBU's Good Life Party at Brave New World; Fabolous, Chaka Khan, Ja Rule and Biz Markie at the National Basketball Players' Association All-Star Gala at the Liacouras Center; a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony reunion at TLA; and Kid Capri and Philly's Most Wanted at the NBA All-Star Weekend Bangout at Transit Nightclub.
On February 10, Electric Factory will host the Old School All-Stars party with performances by Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, EPMD, DJ Jazzy Jeff, MC Lyte, Public Enemy, Rakim and Run-DMC.
That same night, Mr. Cheeks and Ron G. will play another Transit Nightclub Bangout; the Roots and other artists on the upcoming "Blade 2" soundtrack (see "Eve, Ice Cube, Redman Go Electronic For 'Blade 2' ") will promote that album at Polly Esther's; and R. Kelly will host the Chicago NBA Player's Ball at the Ben Franklin Ballroom with performances from several Chicago DJs.
Jay-Z is also hosting parties throughout the weekend, though he has not announced any performances.
Shaggy, Dream, O-Town, Sisqó, Jessica Simpson and Harry Connick Jr. were among the artists who performed at various All-Star Game events last year in Washington, D.C. (see "Shaggy, O-Town, Dream Hoop It Up For All-Star Weekend").
Read about all of the shows we've recently covered in Tour Reports.