On Saturday night, UCLA and Oregon played an interesting, if not overly significant, men’s college basketball game. It was a tale of two halves to the highest degree, with the Ducks thumping the Bruins by a 16-point margin in the first half, only to succumb after halftime when UCLA scored 62 (!) points in just 20 minutes to secure an impressive comeback victory.
With that said, perhaps the best thing about the evening’s festivities at Pauley Pavilion actually happened before tip-off.
The team introduced 7-year-old Malea Emma to sing the national anthem and, in a hurry, it became clear that something fantastic was happening. Oh, and it only improved from there.
The singing of the Star-Spangled Banner is often habitual before major sporting events and, simply put, performances of the song can vary wildly in quality. This time, though, Emma brought the house down with a memorable performance, showing off a stunningly impressive vocal range for someone of any age, much less an individual that is only seven years old.
Appropriately, the crowd in Los Angeles showed their appreciation with a (much) larger round of applause than one typically associated with the national anthem and, given the impressive nature of this performance, it feels safe to think that the world will be seeing more of Malea Emma with a microphone in her hand.