Photo Credit: Adam Blyweiss
The Roots hosted a NBA themed musical to open this year’s NBA All-Star weekend on Friday, titled “The Evolution of Greatness.” The performance was supported by a star studded cast that included ‘Hamilton’ actor Daveed Diggs, DJ Jazzy Jeff, actor Michael B. Jordan, Jidenna and Run D.M.C.’s Darryl McDaniels. The performance was themed by one question that the Roots‘ Black Thought opened the show with.
“We live in a culture that has always been obsessed with one age-old question: who’s the best?”
The musical then took the audience through a sort of decade-to-decade look into the game’s rich history and all of its past all-stars. With each performer handling their own era, they used the performance to explain the different styles of play that each generation of basketball’s icons produced. The musical was a playful sort of debate between each decade’s spokesperson to see which was the greatest. They would end their segment with a summation of their era through one word. The four words that were used for the preceding eras were “simplicity” (50’s-60’s), “style” (70’s), “super stars” (80’s) and “power” (90’s). With the final decision being told by Black Thought, that greatness is in fact the history of the game. He explained that no era could have existed if it weren’t for the one that came before it. At the end of the musical, Black Thought then introduced the game’s current “greatness” in this year’s all-star lineup.
In a statement with Billboard McDaniels explained that the performance was a way to help educate new fans to the game. The goal of The Roots’ “The Evolution of Greatness” was to show where the NBA that we watch today came from, to pay respect to its contributors as well as entertain viewers.
“[The Roots] wanted to do something that wasn’t just based on the entertainment value,” he said. “While you’re entertaining people, you should be able to educate, inspire, motivate and teach, which is the basis of hip-hop.
Watch below for the truly spectacular performance and let The Roots teach you a little something about basketball’s roots.