"Roundball Rock"
Single by John Tesh
Released1990
Recorded1990
GenreRock
Length2:49
LabelGTS Records
Songwriter(s)John Tesh
Producer(s)John Tesh

"Roundball Rock"[1] is a musical score composed by John Tesh and used for The NBA on NBC from 1990 until 2002. NBC played the theme 12,000 times during their run. Tesh came up with the melody while at a hotel and called his answering machine at home to sing a preliminary version of the melody so he would not forget it.[2][3] A more rock-oriented variant was introduced in 1997 to coincide with the debut of the WNBA. That theme was also used until 2002, and on NBC's WNBA telecasts only. Since 2018, it has been used as the theme song for CBB on FOX.[4]

Appearances after 2002

When ABC took over broadcasting rights for the National Basketball Association (NBA) from NBC, Tesh offered them the rights to also use his theme, but they declined and chose to compose their own theme music instead.[5][6] The theme is still memorable three decades later, especially because of its association with the NBA's ascendance in the 1990s.

The tune was revived in three ways in 2008 and 2016, with NBC using the music for commercial bumpers and starting lineup announcements during their coverage of basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics that featured NBA players[7] and Tesh releasing a free MP3 version on his website to commemorate the 2008 NBA Finals.[8] This theme was sampled by Nelly for his song "Heart of a Champion" from his studio album, Sweat, and compilation album Sweatsuit. "Roundball Rock" was also used in The Boondocks episode "Ballin'".

On April 13, 2013, Saturday Night Live parodied John Tesh pitching the theme to NBC Sports executives. In this sketch, the tune featured comical lyrics sung by John's fictional brother Dave.

A re-recording of the tune is used by Tesh as theme music for his syndicated radio show, as well as for the television series Intelligence for Your Life that Tesh co-hosts with his wife Connie Sellecca.

On September 17, 2017, NBC briefly played the tune heading into a commercial break during a Sunday Night Football game, over a replay of a jump shot-themed touchdown celebration by Atlanta Falcons players Devonta Freeman and Andy Levitre.[9]

On September 11, 2020, TNT played "Heart of a Champion" going into a commercial break, during Game 7 of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics.

Usage by Fox Sports

Fox Sports announced in December 2018 that it had acquired the rights to "Roundball Rock", which it will play for CBB on FOX.[10] CBB on FS1 had used their old theme (a "marching band" variant of the NFL on FOX theme), the same one as CFB on FOX/FS1, but switched to this theme for the 2019-20 college basketball season.

See also

References

  1. ^ TV Theme - NBC, NBA 02.wav
  2. ^ Gayomali, Chris (May 26, 2011). "Watch: How John Tesh Wrote the NBA's Iconic Theme Song". Time. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  3. ^ John Tesh (2008-08-12), 'ORIGINAL' NBA on NBC Theme - Roundball Rock - John Tesh, retrieved 2019-06-18
  4. ^ "Fox Sports is bringing John Tesh's iconic 'Roundball Rock' back to basketball broadcasts". For The Win. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  5. ^ Rovell, Darren (June 12, 2002). "The day Tesh's music might die". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Second Wind of John Tesh's NBA Theme". The Wall Street Journal. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  7. ^ Chase, Chris (August 10, 2008). "The music of John Tesh is eternal". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Tesh, John (12 June 2008), "John Tesh Scores Points With NBA Fans by Offering Free Download of His Classic NBA Theme 'Roundball Rock' in Honor of the 2008 NBA Finals", PR Newswire, retrieved 13 November 2011
  9. ^ "NBC brilliantly played 'Roundball Rock' for the Falcons' basketball-themed celebration". For The Win. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  10. ^ "Fox Sports is bringing John Tesh's iconic 'Roundball Rock' back to basketball broadcasts". For The Win. Retrieved 2018-12-07.

Further reading