Cavs invite blind teen Marlana VanHoose to sing national anthem before Game 6

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Marlana VanHoose sings the national anthem before Cavaliers-Celtics Game 1. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Marlana VanHoose sings the national anthem before Cavaliers-Celtics Game 1. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

After inviting platinum-selling recording artists Rascal Flatts and Usher to sing the national anthem before Games 3 and 4 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally decided to get serious and break out the big guns on Tuesday.

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With the Cavaliers looking to stave off elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors and force a Game 7 back in Oakland on Friday, Cleveland welcomed 19-year-old Marlana VanHoose to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the 9 p.m. ET tipoff of Tuesday's Game 6 at Quicken Loans Arena. VanHoose, a Denver, Ky., native who has been blind since birth and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, rose to the national spotlight after showcasing her passion for singing and sports — and her booming, beautiful voice — at a number of University of Kentucky women's basketball games:

As noted in that great "E:60" piece, the Lady Wildcats were undefeated in games before which VanHoose sang the national anthem. The Cavs have experienced the same run of luck with Marlana this season, winning their April 2 matchup with the Miami Heat after she performed:

... and defeating the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on April 19 after she sang the anthem:

Between VanHoose singing before the game and The Amazing Sladek performing at halftime, the Cavaliers sure seem to be pulling out all the stops to tilt Game 6 in their favor. Who says LeBron James doesn't have any help, anyway?

In case you missed Marlana's performance, it was memorable and as strong as advertised:

... and it certainly got the crowd at the Q pumped up for a do-or-die Game 6.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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