NBA All-Star Game 2020: Common introduces starting lineups with spoken-word rhymes after Chicago tribute

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago on Sunday came with the typical pageantry of the league's marquee midseason event. Before the game even started, the league pulled out all the stops to give the fans in Chicago and those watching at home a great show. 

It all started with Common, the MVP of Friday's Celebrity Game and a judge in Saturday's Slam Dunk Contest. He served as the master of ceremonies for the pregame festivities, first leading us through a tribute to his hometown of Chicago, where the game is being played, that also honored Kobe Bryant, who died in January. 

From there, he introduced the starting lineups for both teams, starting with Team Giannis. The twist? He did so in spoken word form and rhymed every player with a description of them. Some highlights include rhyming "Adebayo" with "style" and "Walker" with "Gibraltar."

He then moved on to Team LeBron, whose names sadly weren't as difficult to rhyme. 

Here's a breakdown:

Team Giannis

Nick Nurse: "The head coach for Team Giannis, in the All-Stars this is his first, from the defending champion Toronto Raptors, Nick Nurse." 

Bam Adebayo: "Making his All-Star debut, going hard in the paint is his style, from Miami Heat, Bam Adebayo."

Brandon Ingram: "In his breakout season, representing the Bayou Kingdom, first time All-Star from the New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram."

Rudy Gobert: "Think you can shake this first-time All-Star? Au contraire mon frère. From Utah Jazz, the stifle tower, Rudy Gobert."

Donovan Mitchell: "From inside or outside, either way he'll get you. First-time All-Star from the Utah Jazz, Donovan "Spida" Mitchell."

Khris Middleton: "He's a two-time All-Star, so you know he'll get it done. From the Milwaukee Bucks, give it up for Khris Middleton."

Jimmy Butler: "Like a protester on the court, he's an all-time disruptor. From the Miami Heat, y'all give it up for Jimmy Butler."

Kyle Lowry: "Here from the champion Toronto Raptors, and you know they did it proudly, six-time All-Star and court commander, Kyle Lowry."

Trae Young: "2019 All-Rookie First-Team, and he's only just begun, from the Atlanta Hawks, they call him "Ice" but we also know him as Trae Young."

Kemba Walker: "A four-time All-Star, he handles the rock like Gibraltar, from the Boston Celtics, give it up for Kemba Walker."

Pascal Siakam: "He's Kia's Most Improved Player, and tonight he's ready to rock 'em, here from the world champion Toronto Raptors, give it up for Pascal Siakam."

Joel Embiid: "A big man, with big skills, yes indeed. From the Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid."

Giannis Antetokounmpo: "The reigning MVP, can drive the lane with no refusal. From the Milwaukee Bucks, the captain of the team, Giannis Antetokounmpo."

Team LeBron

Frank Vogel: "Making his second All-Star apperance, he runs the team like a mogul. From the Los Angeles Lakers, the coach, Frank Vogel."

Damian Lillard: "Unable to play due to injury, but anywhere on the court he can kill it. From the Portland Trail Blazers, give it up for my man Damian Lillard."

Devin Booker: "When he heats up from outside, he's like a pressure cooker. First-time All-Star rom the Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker."

Domantas Sabonis: "We knew he'd be an All-Star from everything he's shown us, from the Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis."

Jayson Tatum: "He got crazy skills and you can't overstate 'em, from the Boston Celtics, first-time All-Star Jayson Tatum." 

Nikola Jokic: "With 3-point range, from the lane, he'll give you a dosage, from the Denver Nuggets, two-time All-Star, the Joker, Nikola Jokic."

Ben Simmons: "From the Land Down Under, he's always all about winnin', from the Philadelphia 76ers, y'all give it up for Ben Simmons."

Russell Westbrook: "Known for his fashion, but triple doubles is his best look, from the Houston Rockets, give it up for Russell Westbrook."

Chris Paul: "A 10-time All-Star, he's a general with the ball, from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the great Chris Paul."

James Harden: "A league MVP who breaks ankles with no pardon, from the Houston Rockets, the league's leading scorer, James Harden."

Kawhi Leonard: "He may not talk a lot, but on the court he gives a clinic. A four-time All-Star from the L.A. Clippers, Kawhi Leonard."

Luka Doncic: "This All-Star's the truth, keeping the denfense honest, the reigning Rookie of the Year from the Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic."

Anthony Davis: "A seven-time All-Star, one of the generation's greatest, from the South Side of Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony Davis."

LeBron James: "16-time All-Star, three-time NBA champion, we continue to witness his reign, one of the greatest to play the game, Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James."


All-Star festivities can be pretty hit-or-miss depending on the city and the talent involved, but most of the non-basketball elements of the events so far have been very well received. It is a testament to the city of Chicago. So many talented musicians and celebrities grew up there and have played a part in making this one of the most exciting overall All-Star Weekends in recent memory. Nothing that happens during tonight's All-Star Game can change that. 

Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio

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