Marlana VanHoose is the little girl who sang the National Anthem at the final game of the NBA Finals at the Quicken Loans Arena. Born with Cytomeglo virus (CMV), her optic nerve never formed, hence her blindness. Remarkably, by the time she was two years old, she taught herself to play the piano, and she hasn’t stopped making music since.
The NBA Finals wasn’t the first time she’s performed the National Anthem. The Kentucky native is a fan favorite at University of Kentucky women’s basketball games and elsewhere in the state. In fact, she’s been commissioned a Kentucky Colonel – “an honorary commission given by the state of Kentucky to individuals noted for their public service and their work for the advancement of Kentucky.” Other Kentucky Colonels include Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Depp, Mae West, Marie Osmond, Mario Andretti, Muhammad Ali, and Pope John Paul II, among others.