With two teams as talented as the Suns and Lakers going at it Wednesday, it’s only fitting to have the night’s featured, off-the-court entertainment be someone who knows a thing or two himself about “having  talent.”

Opera singer Neal E. Boyd, 2008 winner of TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” makes his US Airways Center debut with his pregame rendition of the national anthem, as well as a halftime music performance.

The Sikeston, MO, native overcame a lifetime of setbacks to buck the odds and ultimately find entertainment success.

“We live in a difficult time when it’s sometimes hard to find hope,” Boyd said. “What I want to do with my music is to provide some little spark of hope, all you need is one little switch to make your heart move again. I love my town, I love my state of Missouri, and I absolutely love America. It’s truly the greatest country on earth. Now, my opportunity is to make my country proud. I hope I can.”

Bitten by the opera bug after listening to The Three Tenors as a youngster, Boyd rode his talents all the way to the top prize in the talent TV show three years ago.

“The moment I heard Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Joe Carreras, they just blew me away,” he said. “That day changed my heart. Even though they were singing operatic arias in languages like Italian and Spanish, I realized that I didn’t need to understand the music.”

Viral footage of Boyd’s performances has cumulatively earned more than 1.1 million views thanks to his appearances on the TV talent show. Check out his debut album, “My American Dream,” available now on Decca Records.

For tickets to Wednesday’s Suns-Lakers game, CLICK HERE.

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