Going into tonight’s NBA Finals, we had heard that the Toronto Raptors were going to do something a little different with “O Canada.” Typically, the tradition is to bring in a big-name celebrity for a performance of both the Canadian and American National Anthem prior to the start of the game.
Doug Tranquada is the typical Anthem performer, and we’d heard from the NBA prior to the start of the game that he would be leading in the performance. Yet, we’d also heard that the goal of the performance was to get all of Canada immersed in the performance and to have them all singing the words themselves. It was a performance geared around pride and around a country coming together for one team. That’s something that you’ve seen via all the Jurassic Park viewing parties that have taken place all over the country. It’s a phenomenon and something that’s added a new dimension to your basketball viewing experience.
We know what naysayers in America will say — this Finals hasn’t delivered in the ratings like the last several and because of that, ABC may not be thrilled. On a global level, though, this has to be a thrill — think in terms of all of the ratings for Canadian broadcasters, coupled with all of the kids who are going to be inspired to play the sport because of that.
We knew that the Anthem performance would be loud, and it was. What was so much about it was that rather than Tranquada singing the entirety of the Anthem, he allowed the audience take over and do much of the singing themselves — it wasn’t about him. It was about a moment bigger than him and it was special — it’s something that we have a feeling people in the audience are going to remember for a long time. We mean that regardless of whether or not there’s a Game 7. (Remember, Toronto can close out the series with a win tonight, though it’s not going to be easy with Kevin Durant suiting up!)
As for the American National Anthem…
“The Star-Spangled Banner” tonight was performed by none other than Monica, and she gave a great performance of it with some subtle runs and passion incorporated in there. We do wonder how much it will be remembered in the context of the other performance … but it also doesn’t have to be a competition between one National Anthem and the other. Isn’t there just a way to appreciate both and call it a day?
For some other news regarding recent NBA Finals performances…
What do you think about this National Anthem performance leading into the NBA Finals? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: ABC.)