Canada ruins everything. At least, it does when it comes to event planning your standard regular-season NBA game. As you probably know, any game that features an American team playing a Canadian team must include the singing of both "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "O Canada." If you look up into the rafters of any American arena, you'll see a Canadian flag hanging there specifically to accommodate this ritual. And because the Canadian anthem adds a whopping 70 seconds to the pregame festivities, it's NBA policy for the anthems to be sung earlier than is usual: 12 minutes prior to gametime, to be exact.
It's amazing that every sports league still follows these customs to the letter, but that's just how much national anthems matter to people. Like a flag, an anthem holds an unnatural power over a country's population. If you disrespect it—either deliberately or even by innocuously forgetting the words—people get PISSED. Super duper pissed. If you changed the lyrics to "O Canada" and then screamed "EAT SHIT YOU MAPLEHUMPERS" at the end, we would need an international summit to ease tensions. It's just a song, but so many people have poured so much into it that it becomes a cultural talisman that cannot be trespassed upon. The song is the nation. The nation is the song. That's why there are relatively few examples of anthem singers showing open contempt. Here is the most infamous example: