For many years, the Super Bowl has been the premiere live sporting event in America. It's basically a national holiday at this point. Most people who watch the game aren't even watching it for the football.
Instead, their attention is turned towards the entertainment value. The National Anthem, the commercials, and most importantly the halftime show. Some people literally go to the Super Bowl just for the concert that is right in the middle of the game.
Because of the fact that it is a singular event makes it all that more easily accessible to the people who don't typically watch the sport. Whereas with baseball, hockey, and basketball, their championships are a series of games. And unless you're a fan of that sport, there would be no reason for you to watch.
The NBA is trying to change the image of their one singular event with their entertainment value. And they can now thank themselves and J Cole for changing the future of the NBA All-Star Game.
Over the past few years, the NBA has made it a priority to get respectable talent to perform at halftime of the NBA All-Star Game. Since 2014, they have had performances from Alicia Keys, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, Arianna Grande, N.E.R.D., and the Migos. But J Cole had a performance that stood above the rest.
Rocking a retro Starter Charlotte Hornets jacket, he was there to put on a show for his home of North Carolina. Charlotte was not only a homecoming for one of the greatest in Steph Curry, but also a stage for one of the best in the game right now. Cole was ready to set a new bar, while also showing off his newly grown out dreads (multiple women have told me that he has to have extensions or something because theres no way his hair grew that fast, I don't know. That's just what they told me).
As the lights turned low, the spotlight was shining on him with a lit up basketball hoop as his background. A live band begins to play the beat for his newest single "Middle Child," and his voice comes in steady and smooth like a Paul George jump shot. The beat drops, and the fans surrounding him on the floor add their own vocals with the classic "AYE! AYE! AYE!" to the beat.
With every word, you can draw comparisons to this moment.
I love you lil' rappers, I'm glad that you came
The NBA All-Star Game is all about who is the greatest right now. The NBA should hold this same standard for the halftime performance from now on. This showed they are heading in a new direction.
Cole continued his show with a tribute to the recently discriminated 21 Savage, with his verse off of "A Lot." As he makes his way onto a smaller stage that put him right in the middle of the crowd, he says "21 Savage! We love you!"
The camera pans to the band and DJ on the big stage. They are feeling themselves and the beat, and are in perfect harmony with Cole. The background singers mimicking his every vocal, giving all of his words a vibrant echo. The crowd that surrounds him is in awe of the moment, and some are soaking it all in while others are capturing it with their phones so they can relive it forever.
He increased the energy as he flowed into his next song with "ATM." The beat and the chorus had the whole crowd going crazy. At this point, those who were watching at home were off of their couch and dancing in their living rooms. This is the one that had everyones hands in the sky, feeling the happiness in the arena and through their television screen.
Cole is feeling himself on this one, as he had a message for his former educators who may have doubted his decisions as a young man. But they definitely can see his vision now.
I balled on the principal
It has been some kind of journey for Cole. His career began in 2007, but has really sky rocketed over the last 5 years. He threw it back to one of his more emotional songs from his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive with "Love Yourz." As he took a seat and told the crowd to wave their hands slowly, he spilled his soul.
The arena was lit up with lights from people's phones as he gave some solid advice to the world. His words rang loudly not only through the speakers, but through his emotions as he stated "No such thing as a life that's better than yours. . . Hear my words and listen to my signal of distress."
As he stands up, the arena goes silent. He tells everyone to put one finger in the sky, and after a few seconds of silence a beat drops and he proclaims, "First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil..." and the crowd answers with a resounding "FAREAL!"
With "No Role Modelz" Cole shows that it is just him up there. He made it to this point on his own accord. With his last three albums containing no major features, he performed all on his own. Accompanied only with his musicians and his background singers.
Up until this point, no artist had really put this much heart and soul into this gig. Cole can see that the NBA's popularity is on the rise, and he decided to take them to the next level.
This performance is the new bar for the halftime performance of the NBA All-Star Game. If they want this one singular event to draw viewers that are simply there for the entertainment value, this was a great place to start. J Cole set the new standard.
Although, this may never be topped.