Anita Baker drops the ball singing national anthem at NBA finals

anita-bakerImage Credit: Elsa/Getty ImagesFolks at Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden last night (June 10) to watch the Boston Celtics play against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the NBA finals must have been delighted to know that repeat Grammy award winner Anita Baker would be singing the “Star Spangled Banner” before the game. And why shouldn’t they have? She’s a R&B legend whose vocal skills have wowed many for decades. Then she sang. And boy, was it bad.

Mind you, Baker is regularly invited to sing the national anthem at sporting events. That wasn’t her first time around a court or stadium. I doubt Baker will be getting many invites after last night, though. Check out her woeful performance here. The off-key showing soon propelled her to Trending Topic status on Twitter, as thousands of disappointed viewers sounded off on how much they didn’t enjoy it.

Funny thing is, Baker appeared not to even notice how bad she was. What do you think? Was her performance that bad? Or are people just overreacting? Let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (214 total) Add your comment
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  • Diane

    It was that bad.

    • HD

      It was fine. Yes a little pitchy but overall I’d give it a B. Not sure what all the fuss is about.

      • crispy

        This old woman, whoever she was needs to take a tip from Justin Bieber and learn how to sing better. Or better yet just give up and go away.

      • Erin

        Crispy, shut up. Why would anyone learn to sing from Justin Bieber? Maybe how to get wind blown hair and look like the character, Justin, from Queer as Folk. But that’s about it.

      • anon

        Guys… I’m pretty sure crispy’s mocking Bieber’s fan base.

      • Ervin

        You need to just relax. Let it come as it will. If after rxelaing, you aren’t getting what you want from her – tell her. Be honest, upfront, and make sure you’re both on the same page about your relationship boundaries.Sometimes people aren’t good together after realizing what else is out there. Not to say either of you aren’t “good” enough for each other, but, you both deserve to be happy right?You aren’t being controlling, and the natural feeling of being obsessive towards her will go away with time.So, again, my short answer is to tell her exactly how you feel, or, be content with how things are.Let us know what happens after you talk, if you’d like.

    • Sally in Chicago

      She’s a jazz singer….she should have had a jazz rendition like Marvin Gaye, but I’ve never really thought Anita was “all that” as a singer…but she’s a helluva song writer.

      • LYNN

        Sally please do your homework and stay in your lane WHITE girl, she is not a jazz singer

      • jesse

        “A jazz singer like Marvin Gaye”? Wow! Really? And Lady Gaga sings country, right?

      • Sally in Chicago

        Lady GaGa is an alternative artist! She also supports alternative lifestyles. And yes, Anita baker is a jazz singer. I loved that movie that Diana Ross starred in that told Anita Bakers life story – I think it was “Lady Sings the Jazz” or something like that. It was beautiful.

      • MeShelly

        Sally in Chicago–just in case someone reads this blog months from now, I had to correct you—Diana Ross did not do a movie about Anita Baker, Diana Ross is much older than Ms. Baker, and when that movie was released, Ms. Baker was all of 14 years old! Lady Sings the Blues was about the life of Billy Holiday sweetie!

      • OG

        Crispy is either being funny or knows nothing about good music. Excuses for artistes like Bieber are exactly the reason our kids will never know the beauty of the music that feeds the soul. Sigh… sad!

    • Mothra

      It’s really not. Must be a slow entertainment news day. Just because it wasn’t all autotuned and sounding like it was her vocal exercises doesn’t mean it was bad. It was low key and real. I liked it.

    • Sadeigh

      Like it matters. She’s got her Grammy’s and her money, and loyal fans. This past year has proven that bad singers are all the rage – case in point – Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, etc…

      • crispy

        Don’t include Justin Bieber on that list you moron. Grammys mean nothing these days its all about sales and fans. I don’t think she has many of either. JB has many of both your just a moron. Sorry.

      • Badger31201

        Crispy needs to STFU and show a little respect. Anita Baker’s COLON can sing better than Justin Bee-Sting. He’s not even real, he’s just some PRODUCTION of a music company. And Anita has tons of sales and tons of fans, though personal issues have kept her from releasing an album in many years. Hideous child, you are. Go away now.

      • @ crispy

        So did New Kids on the Block, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson…and then one day they (and their fans and their sales) went away. Funny, bc Anita Baker was around back then, too, and she’s the one singing at this year’s NBA Finals.

      • Sara

        Not really a Carrie Underwood fan…but the girl CAN sing.

      • Glory

        Yeah, Carrie’s good. Maybe you were thinking Taylor Swift. She’s a whooooole other story!

      • pufferfish

        For the record Crispy… Anita Baker has 8 grammys four platinum albums and two gold albums so stop comparing her to flash in the pan Justin Bieber. It’s disrespectful to a very talented R&B artist and unless you are a 12 year old girl it also makes you look like a tasteless moron.

      • Stev e Blamford

        Carrie Underwood is an awesome singer. I can’t belive someone would say she’s not talented. I’m sure you have her confused with Taylor Swift. Now she’s terrible!

    • who?

      Who’s Anita Baker?

      • rae

        Anita Baker is a very talented singer who in the 80’s and early 90’s was big in R&B. She has 8 grammys under her belt. Just looks like she had a pitchy night and everyone is going ape sh@t about it. Go figure.

      • Dee Jones

        Who`s Anita Baker? Say what?

      • Preston

        Not everybody is going to sing perfectly night after night with their performances. We need to stop jumping to expectations that we want the Star Spangled Banner to sound perfectly pitched when we hear it. I commend Anita Baker for getting through the performance even if she had one of her off nights with the singing.

      • Dinjab

        She’s a legend who could teach Justin Bony–ss Bieber a bit about stage presence. She had one bad night.

      • Sally in Chicago

        It was worse than when Roseanne sang the NA at that baseball game. Anita Baker needs to retire.

    • Ambee

      It was pretty bad, and I’m not usually super critical of people singing live.

      The thing is, she sounded good in the other clip posted – the link on the word stadium. She has an unusual inflection to her voice and it’s deeper than most, but she sounded good.

      But at this recent game… no. No. It might’ve just been an off night, but it was not good!

    • jason

      it was fine until it went high. just to remind y’all she is singing live, no ear monitor and acapella. you go do that before you throw stones

      • Nsren

        i never toughht i’d say this but i’m glad his balls dropped and he got a deeper voice

  • dave

    doesn’t sound so bad to me. it sounds like anita baker, who’s always had unusual inflections in her voice.

    • Ramury

      I agree, it didn’t sound bad. She has a stylized way of singing. This rendition fit her style but miht have sounded better in a smaller venue.

  • Jess

    I thought it sounded like a baby crying. I kept looking around in the sports bar I was in, and then realized it was her. Yikes.

  • Bob

    Not horrible at all. Definitely have heard worse.

  • Chris

    It was a little pitchy, dawg. For me, for you… it was just all right.

    • Robin Sparkles


  • john

    it was bad fit. She has like a baritone voice. And that song requires her to hiit notes she can’t hit.

    • Casey

      Exactly John.

  • wakeforce

    So what, she had a bad day. Happens to every singer. If it was pitch perfect, people would be complaining that it was prerecorded. Let’s her Whitney try this now (or rather, let’s not)!

    • wakeforce


  • PeterBilt

    dave, I thought the same thing.

  • graeme

    Huh? She missed the one high note at about the 1 minute mark, but other than that, that was totally fine.

  • John

    Sorry, but as a singer, I gotta say she just didn’t pull it off. No support at the critical moments and her voice just sounded thin, like she didn’t warm up at all. Gonna be on national tv? Be a pro and prepare.

  • dave

    and btw, Brad Wete must be a real Anita Baker-hater, cause she has 8 Grammy’s, not 2.

  • Faze Craze

    Didn’t knock my socks off by any means, but it wasn’t even close to being nearly as bad as I was expecting after reading this article.

    • Meg

      That’s what I was thinking…he made it sound way worse than it actually was. It wasn’t great or anything, but I didn’t think it was absolutely horrible either…

      • Mike Pipkin

        I agree. It wasn’t great, but it was by no means a train wreck.

    • Trish

      I agree

  • Scout

    My husband was at the game last night and heard it on the news this morning and said it didn’t sound like that at all in person…?

    • DruggyBear

      there are audible boos towards the end

  • Razor

    Umm, I thought she sounded like herself singing the National Anthem, refreshing and without the usual bunch of vocal histrionics like most performers do these days.

    • Argo

      Dear Michael,I was googling Fizz, Bubble, and Flash to see how it is being used in home-schooling, and came asorcs this post. We never met or spoke while you were working on this project, but I always wanted to tell you how pleased and thrilled I was with your illustrations. I think that our senses of humor are twisted in much the same way, and your pictures are no small part of the success and staying power that this book has had. I’m glad that I saw this post so that I can finally tell you this!Anita Brandolini

  • reader

    she actually has 8 grammys

    • derp

      thanks to autotune she does

      • keith

        Whatever moron, she sang and got her start in the days when singers actually had to sing before autotune.

      • rae

        autotune was’nt even thought about when Anita making hits. Shows how young you are.

      • Sir Gant

        Anita doesn’t use autotune, and I know as I co-produced “Rapture” & “Givin U The Best That I Got”. As for her performance, for some reason she sounded nervous and could have lowered the key a bit. Anita is a song stylist, singing a song like the anthem a capella is not really her forte.

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