Who performed the national anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals? Meet Dallas’ own Justin Lyons, aka GuitarSlayer.

The guitarist and Oak Cliff native has been regularly performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2023-2024 season.

DALLAS — Just before the ball tipped off for Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals at Dallas’ American Airlines Center, national television audiences experienced something that Dallas Mavericks fans have seen numerous times throughout the 2023-2024 season, including before Game 3. 

They got their faces melted by native Dallasite and guitarist Justin Lyons, known professionally as GuitarSlayer, who performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Lyons’ nationally televised performances prior to Games 3 and 4 were more than a year in the making. After Lyons was invited to perform the national anthem at a Dallas Stars game in early 2023, he caught the attention of the Dallas Mavericks’ in-arena entertainment team, who tapped the musician to help them update the team’s previous walkout song production, which had been used since 2001, for 2024 audiences. 

Also as part of that relationship, the team installed him as one of its regular pre-game anthem performers.

The new-look in-area opening, which arrived in tandem with multimillions in renovations to the American Airlines Center and its video boards during the Mavericks’ offseason, is a slick upgrade to earlier introductions soundtracked by The Who’s “Eminence Front”. Now, with Lyons standing on top of a illuminated Mavs stage at center court and shredding along to pre-recordings of the songs’ synth and drum lines, smoke erupts on either side of the performer and fire spews from the post behind each hoops’ backboard.

It’s a high-energy offering, indeed:

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Lyons’ Mavericks performances aren’t all spectacle, though.

As shown by the below clip of his performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to tipoff for a Mavericks-Suns game at the AAC earlier this season — and proved again as he performed the same song before Game 3 of the Finals — his emotive performances of the national anthem stand plenty compelling on their own accord:

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That’s perhaps to be expected.

For the past two decades, the Oak Cliff-raised Lyons has worked as a bit of a mercenary in the music industry, performing alongside the likes of BlackPink, Lil Wayne, Lecrae and, most recently, as Machine Gun Kelly’s touring guitarist.

But, considering the amount of eyeballs on this series, it’s safe to say GuitarSlayer’s performances ahead of Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals found him playing on his biggest stage yet.

Watch post-game press conference here:

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