Kanye West to Open NBA All-Star Game With Special Performance (Exclusive)


Kanye West is set to open the 69th NBA All-Star Game, sources tell ET. 

The "Closed on Sunday" rapper and his gospel choir will give a special performance at the event on Sunday, according to sources, who add that West's opening will be coupled by a piece from Common. 

The All-Star Game, played at Chicago's United Center, will also feature a tribute to Kobe Bryant, performed by Jennifer Hudson. Chaka Khan will sing the U.S. national anthem ahead of the game, while Tenille Arts will perform the Canadian national anthem. Chance the Rapper will take the stage at halftime alongside Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled and Quavo.

West paid tribute to Bryant with a special Sunday Service shortly after the NBA star's tragic death on Jan. 26. "I was driving home/They was leaving your jersey on the freeway, and I just broke down, broke down, broke down," he sang in videos from the event. 

"Kobe, We love you brother We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave," West wrote on Twitter. 

Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash, will also be honored in other ways throughout Sunday's All-Star Game. LeBron James' team will be wearing jerseys with the number 2, in honor of Gianna's Mamba Academy basketball team jersey. Giannis Antetokounmpo's group will wear Bryant's number, 24.

James reflected on Bryant's death while speaking with reporters at the NBA All-Star Practice and Media Day in Chicago on Saturday.

"We know that he's watching over us and, you know, it’s our responsibility to represent the purple and gold. Not only for him, but for all the greats, everybody who’s ever come to the Lake show," he said. "I don’t want to -- I don’t really want to sit up here and talk about it too much. It’s a very sensitive subject, but he’s with us every day."

The NBA All-Star game will air Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.


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