Chance the Rapper reflects on family, fame, and putting Chicago in the NBA All Star Weekend spotlight

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CHICAGO (WLS) -- For the NBA All Star Weekend, Chance the Rapper serves as the ambassador, welcoming players and fans to Chicago.

RELATED: NBA All-Star Game: Everything you need to know about the 2020 showcase weekend in Chicago

The three-time Grammy winner, real name Chancelor Bennett, will be the official host of the 69th annual NBA All Star Game, and in the Second City it's a first chance for the rapper and philanthropist to showcase his hometown in the city he loves so much.

His lyrics often pay tribute to Chicago and his hometown is always on display in his videos, but now his beloved city will be on display on a global stage.

"It's an honor to be a part of such an iconic, worldwide thing," he said. "It's like when the All Star Game comes, the whole city comes to life."

He said there will be a special honor to celebrate the legacy of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Nike said at Sunday's All Star Game players will wear jerseys with the numbers 2 and 24 on them.

"To be there to pump up the players do a tribute and do my thing at the United Center, which I just sold out few months ago, it's a dream," said Chance.

And he wants the All Star Weekend experience to reveal Chicago to people who may not know the city well.

"I want people to understand that Chicago is communal, and there is a lot of love here, and there's a huge culture in all different paths of the city," he said. "I want people to understand the way we talk, the way we dance, and the way we cook our food, and the way we dress. Chicago culture is very specific."

"When people get here and see how beautiful our skyline is and how beautiful the South and West sides are, I think that will change a lot of people's understanding of the city," he added.

The All Star Game is also an opportunity for Chance to shine a light on his charity SocialWorks, which is celebrating five years of changing lives and empowering young people through education and entertainment. In the process, it has raised $8 million, including $2 million donated by Chance himself.

"The legacy of SocialWorks is going to be the children of today that become the generation of adults tomorrow," Chance said.

Four of his students have created a shoe and clothing line with the Jordan Brand Chicago collection, showcasing his hometown with the Chicago map and skyline. The gear will debut this weekend, and the motto of the nonprofit, "Help People," is featured prominently.

Tremyah Underwood, one of the shoe designers, is the youngest in Nike history at just 12 years old.

"What we try to do at SocialWorks is inspire people," she said. "We wanted to inspire people to unite in Chicago, to come together to be one."

And Chance is the All Star Game half time performer, which he said going to be a magical show.

"It's going to be extremely Chicago," he said. "I can tell you we're going to have the South Shore Drill Team involved as well as the King College Prep band. I can just tell you it will be very Chicago and that's as deep as I can go."

Chance said basketball is his favorite sport, and he will be captain of a team going up against fellow Chicago rapper Common in a celebrity game.

He also said he is working on new music, Punk'd, and is working with MGM studios on a musical that will be about, what else, Chicago.

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Chance the Rapper is a musician, star, and Chicago's ambassador for the 2020 NBA All Star Weekend. But he is loving his two most important titles: husband and father.

Beyond basketball, he is loving his two most important titles: husband and father.

"It's different, it's awesome," he said. "It's cool to say 'my kids.' "I gotta go home to my kids.'"

Chance basks in the joys of fatherhood; he can't help but smile at the mere mention of his daughters.

"It's awesome because when your wife is pregnant you think of the kid as just a baby, but then once they are here it's like, they're a person, and on your second child especially, it's cool they are two separate people," Chance said.

His two daughters' are connected both through blood and through their names.
"We just like the way that we spelled Kensli's name with the 'li.' So we figured we'd have another 'li' child, and Marli was the one that came to mind," he said. "Her middle name was the one picked by her sister, her name was Marli Grace."

And he reflected on celebrating a year of marriage with his wife.

"It's definitely, you have a very different understanding of it the further out you go, but we're the strongest we've ever been," he said.

Chance opened up to ABC7's Cheryl Burton on everything from his personal life, to the All-Star weekend, to being a performer, a humanitarian and... filmmaker? See his exclusive one-on-on on ABC7 Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
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