Fans Pan NBA ASG's Lengthy Introductions, Fergie's Anthem
The NBA All-Star Game last night "didn't exactly start off on the right foot" at Staples Center, as the game did not tip off "until 40 minutes after" its scheduled 8:00pm ET start time, according to Ari Gilberg of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The delay was "due to a pregame musical number performed by Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle," lengthy and "cringe-worthy lineup introductions by Hart and finally a butchered national anthem performance by Fergie to top it all off." Fans appeared to be "confused and irritated by the less-than-stellar entertainment delaying the game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/19). In DC, Des Bieler writes Hart and Riggle "dragged out the pregame proceedings in painful, interminable fashion." It was a "battle to see who could annoy viewers more." Most observers "complained about how unfunny Hart was" and "how long everything took," as well as Fergie's performance (WASHINGTON POST, 2/19).
SINGING OFF KEY: The AP's Greg Beacham wrote Fergie's "slow, bluesy rendition" of the anthem "wasn't particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media." A "low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after Fergie finished." Fans "reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm" (AP, 2/18). In N.Y., Chris Perez writes Fergie’s vocals "appeared to irk some players," including Warriors F Draymond Green and 76ers C Joel Embiid, who were "caught on camera laughing and grimacing throughout the performance" (N.Y. POST, 2/19). In Boston, Jaclyn Reiss wrote Fergie's "raspy interpretation ... did not go over well, with many taking to Twitter to note that she seemed to have missed the mark" (BOSTONGLOBE.com, 2/18). SI.com's Andrew Sharp wrote Fergie "went for it with an extended anthem rendition, and she, uh, didn't quite land it." Everyone "can agree the introductions did not need to be 30 minutes long ever again." This is the next change for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "to make, and it should be a much simpler process than fixing the actual game" (SI.com, 2/18). Comedian Roseanne Barr, who sang a famously derided version of the anthem in '90, tweeted, "Who saw Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game? I think mine was better lowkey" (TWITTER.com, 2/18).