Flavor Flav performing the National Anthem.
Photo: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images
It’s kinda weird to me that we sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of every sporting event in the United States because, like, what does your average basketball game have to do with the War of 1812? But on rare occasions, the silly patriotism yields an awe-inspiring spectacle of vocal might — or an interpretation of the notoriously difficult song that’s too amusing to ignore. Somehow, Flavor Flav managed to check both of the aforementioned boxes with his memorable rendition of the national anthem. The rapper and Public Enemy co-founder delivered the song a cappella ahead of the Atlanta Hawks versus Milwaukee Bucks game on October 29. He stood center court wearing his signature clock necklace, briefly hesitated at the first note, then gathered himself enough to confidently belt his heart out. At times, Flav played with the beat of the song as some of the players and officials on the court held back chuckles, clearly moved. His strong breathing made way for the impressive notes and key changes the song is known for — though his were a little off, he clearly rehearsed the thing in his mirror, down to the triumphant weight his voice carried. He ended the nearly three-minute performance with an ingenious refrain of the last line, “of the brave,” repeated three times. The crowd was rapt.
“The anthem was a long time bucket list item,,, that was fun!” Flavor Flav tweeted after his performance. “I can’t live my life worried about what people might say about me. I won’t let that stop me from trying new things and doing things I wanna do. Some people might not like that. But a sure failure is if you stop trying.” Bravo.