Last night, the NBA held its annual All-Star Game in Los Angeles, and as its halftime entertainment, the league recruited N.E.R.D. and Migos to perform together. (Migos member Quavo had won the MVP trophy at the Celebrity All-Star Game earlier in the weekend.) But the All-Star Game musical moment that really set Twitter alight wasn’t the halftime show. It was Black Eyed Peas member and mid-’00s pop star Fergie singing the worst National Anthem in recent memory.
Fergie attempted to turn “The Star-Spangled Banner” into some sort of jazzy Jessica Rabbit torch song, and it did not work out well. The whole thing could’ve almost been viewed as some sort of veiled NFL-style Anthem protest. And the best part of it was that, with the players on the court, we could see their reactions to what she was doing. Steph Curry stared with a sort of bemused blankness. Joel Embiid looked both confused and angry. Draymond Green was caught on camera, first glaring slackjawed and then outright laughing. Here’s the magnificent video:
Asked about his instant-meme reaction the the Anthem after the game, Green said, “I was just shown, man… I was, I don’t know. It’s the National Anthem.” And he made a face. Here’s the video:
In the TNT halftime show, Charles Barkley was much less tactful. Busting up laughing, as Shaquille O’Neal attempted to defend Fergie, Barkley said, “I need a cigarette after that”:
USA Today reports that Steph Curry, one of the All-Star Game’s two team captains, actually liked a tweet making fun of Fergie’s performance while the game was still happening.
The NBA has had better luck in the past. Here’s Marvin Gaye singing a transcendent National Anthem at the 1983 All-Star Game:
UPDATE: Fergie speaks: “I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the National Anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”