Ever since Michael Jordan retired and the new breed of superstar was established in the NBA (a la Allen Iverson, Dwight Howard), the NBA All-Star game has been much more performance than true sporting event since Tracy McGrady threw himself an alley-oop off the backboard in-game, and this weekend’s jam-packed 2014 edition was no less light on the entertainment. Held in New Orleans, the 63rd installment of the annual competition of the league’s brightest stars saw performances from the likes of Pharrell, who showed up with both his infamous hat, and former Neptunes/N.E.R.D. partner Chad Hugo in tow, performing a slew of his hits on both the production and singing tips. He did the classic, decade-old song, “Frontin”, brought out Nelly for “Hot in Herre”, did the hook on Jay Z‘s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me)”, although Mr. Carter wasn’t in attendance, and brought out Busta Rhymes and Diddy for a fresh version of “Pass the Courvoisier Part II”. He aldo did “Blurred Lines” for which Robin Thicke was also a no-show and followed it with the cult classic, “Rock Star” with his Hugo, who played the keytar flawlessly. Pharrell finally finished, playing “Beautiful” with Snoop Dogg and, following the Western Conference introductions, did an interpretation of “Get Lucky”, again, without Daft Punk, and during “Happy”, he popped on the big hat. Kendrick looked as intense as ever, performing “m.A.A.d City” and “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” in an understated black hooded sweatshirt. Janelle Monae continued to prove why she is a favorite for performances like these, tapping none other than Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark Jr., Doctor John and Earth Wind & Fire for a memorable performance that included a rendition of her song, “Electric Lady”, before joining Earth, Wind and Fire for “Shining Star”. All in all, there was plenty to make up for the mediocre basketball. Watch it all below.
Janelle Monae & Trombone Shorty