Canadian indie pop band Walk Off the Earth performed O Canada before the Toronto Raptors took game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Friday. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
The Toronto Raptors’ first trip to the NBA Finals has gone about as well as could be expected, as the team holds a three-games-to-one lead over the defending-champion Golden State Warriors.
But it’s been a rougher series for another Canadian institution in its first run to the championship round, with back-to-back renditions of O Canada drawing mixed reactions online.
The latest example came ahead of Game 4 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., Friday night.
The four members of Burlington, Ont.-based Walk Off the Earth crowded around a single, triple-necked stringed instrument for a funky, folksy rendition of the national anthem.
The television broadcast showed people in the crowd bobbing their heads and swaying from side to side, and a clip shared on social media showed Raptors forward Pascal Siakam smiling broadly during the performance.
@WalkOffTheEarth Thx for representing Halton in Oakland. You set the tone for another Canadian win! #WetheNorth Walk Off The Earth Performs ‘O Canada’ Ahead Of Raptors Vs. Warriors Game 4 https://t.co/0CGraKxAQh via @YouTube #raptors
Wow walk off the earth did an amazing job singing O Canada 🇨🇦🏀🇨🇦🏀🇨🇦🏀🇨🇦🏀🇨🇦🏀🇨🇦#WeTheNorth
The unorthodox take drew mixed reviews online, however, with several Twitter users suggesting the band should “walk off the court.”
What’s up with this version of the Canadian anthem?. Walk of the earth? Walk off the court
The band responded to both praise and criticism on Twitter, telling one person who said the group “butchered” the anthem: “Oh well … I guess we better quit now!”