CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Back in 1991 when the NBA All-Star game first came to Charlotte, Anthony Hamilton remembers his family sitting around the television watching the game.
Now, 28 years later, they’re going to be watching him along with a crowd of thousands as he takes the center stage for one of the biggest sporting events in the country.
“This week is going to be extraordinary,” the Charlotte native, South Meck. High School graduate said.
NBC Charlotte’s Billie Jean Shaw sat down with the Grammy award-winning R&B artist just days before his big performance of the national anthem at the 2019 All-Star Game in the Queen City.
“How exciting is that?” asked Shaw.
“Very exciting to be the ambassador of the city,” said Hamilton. “I rather someone from home come out and represent.”
But this decision comes after much thought.
The 48-year-old North Carolina Music Hall of Famer stopped singing the national anthem back in 2016. Hamilton said it was in support of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick who chose to kneel rather than stand during the anthem as a protest of racial injustice in America.
“What changed? Shaw asked. "Walk us through your decision to perform the song."
“We worked out some things amongst ourselves. Now I’m going to put the spirit of us back in the song,” said Hamilton.
"Does it make a difference that's it the NBA versus the NFL?" Shaw asked.
"Yes, a lot of the NBA coaches and owners kinda respect the players' decisions, and the NFL is pretty much shaded and I'm not with that," Hamilton said.
Hamilton couldn't give us a preview of how he'll sing the anthem but said he'll give it a soulful North Carolina twist.