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Watch Aretha Franklin own national anthem before 2004 NBA Finals Game 5


Singer Aretha Franklin sings the National Anthem before the start of game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., Tuesday, June 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)


The NBA is at its best when teams have strong identities, and the 2004 Pistons sure had one. Overlooked, proud and hustling, they fit the city they represented.

That’s why there was nobody better to sing the national anthem before their championship-clinching Game 5 of the NBA Finals than Aretha Franklin, who grew up in and proudly represented Detroit:

Franklin died at age 76 yesterday, and everyone who heard her music was blessed – anyone at The Palace of Auburn Hills that night particularly so.