Pau Gasol, the San Antonio Spurs’ center and a six-time NBA All-Star, has joined the San Antonio Symphony’s advisory board, symphony officials announced Monday. Gasol, who is from Barcelona, Spain, will work actively to support the organization, said Kathleen Weir Vale, chair of the San Antonio Symphony board of directors. “We are exceedingly grateful for Pau Gasol’s support for the Symphony as we finish an exceptional season and look forward to his participation on our Advisory Board and in upcoming creative promotional events,” Vale said. “Our next concert season will be electrifying.”
So the Jimmy Kimmel Live host had to address it, of course. He said he smiled because he loves The Star-Spangled Banner so much. Then, he made a good point after noting Fergie said she was a risk-taker: “Here’s the thing about taking risks: When it comes to the national anthem, don’t. Don’t take risks when you’re doing brain surgery, don’t take risks when you’re driving a school bus, or singing the National Anthem. Just regular is fine.”
Fergie tried something different with her national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, and not everybody was cheering. The Black Eyed Peas singer’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase. A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after Fergie finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”
Marvin Gaye, a linchpin of swagger, walked to center court at The Forum in a deep blue suit — jacket buttoned — wearing dark shades courtesy of an NBA gift package that had been distributed to all media and VIP guests. But there was something wrong with the shades. “[The sunglasses] had ‘L.A. All-Star’ imprinted on the lenses,” said Brian McIntyre, the NBA’s public relations director in 1983. “Trouble was, whoever printed them printed it backwards.” Gaye either didn’t know, didn’t show or didn’t care. He also didn’t know he was the second choice — Lionel Richie, sitting on the huge success of his solo debut, had turned the NBA down for the anthem honors. Players and coaches lined up on opposite free throw lines. The honor guard of nearby Edwards Air Force Base was behind Gaye with the American and California flags raised. Seventeen thousand people in the arena were on their feet for the national anthem — there was little reason to expect a diversion from the way “The Star-Spangled Banner” had been performed their entire lives.
Something special was happening. Riley was standing next to Abdul-Jabbar. On the surface, Riley was calm. But his mind raced a mile a minute. “I was thinking to myself, ‘We’re about to see something very unique here,’ ” the three-time Coach of the Year said. “Then the first words came out of his mouth, and he went on. Then he went in a different pitch. It was mesmerizing to me.”
“[After the game,] it was just common knowledge that whenever you talked about the anthem, everybody just pointed to it like, ‘Yeah, that was the best one that was ever done.’ Not because his techniques were good — they were — but because spiritually, in that moment, he really captured the feelings of everyone in The Forum. I’ve never been part of an anthem where everybody’s just in unison and lost control and just started moving. It was a beautiful moment.” — Isiah Thomas
Gaye, the archbishop of swagger. “You knew it was history,” Julius Erving said, “but it was also ‘hood.” For a two-minute stretch, the basketball world revolved around Marvin Gaye and within his gravitational pull were MVPs, world champions, former Rookies of the Year, future Hall of Famers and 17,505 people in the stands. “We were two-stepping, listening to the national anthem,” said Magic Johnson with a laugh. “We were just bouncing left to right. It blew us away. We just got caught into the moment of this man. People just forgot it was the national anthem.”