Roundball Rock

"Roundball Rock"[1] is a theme song composed by John Tesh and used for The NBA on NBC from 1990 until 2002. NBC played the song 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.

When ABC took over broadcasting rights for the National Basketball Association (NBA) from NBC, Tesh offered them the rights to also use his song, but they declined and chose to compose their own theme music instead.[4][5] The theme is still memorable nearly two decades later, especially because of its association with the NBA's ascendance in the 1990s.

The song 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[6] and Tesh releasing a free MP3 version on his website to commemorate the 2008 NBA Finals.[7] This song 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 song to NBC Sports executives. In this sketch, the song 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 song 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.[8]

Fox Sports announced in December 2018 that it had acquired the rights to "Roundball Rock", which it will play for select college basketball broadcasts.[9] In addition, it will also play the song during telecasts of the Jr. NBA Global Championship tournament, starting in summer 2019.

"Roundball Rock"
Single by John Tesh
LabelGTS Records
Songwriter(s)John Tesh
Producer(s)John Tesh

See also


  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. ^ Rovell, Darren (June 12, 2002). "The day Tesh's music might die". Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Second Wind of John Tesh's NBA Theme". The Wall Street Journal. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  6. ^ Chase, Chris (August 10, 2008). "The music of John Tesh is eternal". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ "NBC brilliantly played 'Roundball Rock' for the Falcons' basketball-themed celebration". For The Win. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  9. ^ "Fox Sports is bringing John Tesh's iconic 'Roundball Rock' back to basketball broadcasts". For The Win. Retrieved 2018-12-07.

Further reading

External links

Fox College Hoops

Fox College Hoops (Fox CBB) is the blanket title used for Fox Sports broadcasts of college basketball by Fox and its cable networks. Although college basketball telecasts had been carried by Fox Sports Networks (FSN) in the past (generically under the title College Hoops), the Fox College Hoops branding was introduced in 2013 with the expansion of coverage to Fox and Fox Sports 1.

Games on Fox and FS1 include rights to the Big East, Big Ten, and Pac-12, as well as the early-season Las Vegas Invitational and Las Vegas Classic.

Grantland Basketball Hour

The Grantland Basketball Hour is a primetime show on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN on ABC in which sports and pop culture journalist, Bill Simmons and sports media journalist Jalen Rose discuss current events surrounding the NBA. The show began on October 21, 2014, and was contracted by ESPN for 18 episodes to cover the 2014–15 NBA season.

Heart of a Champion (song)

"Heart of a Champion" is a song by the rapper Nelly, released in 2004, from the album Sweat. In the song Nelly raps about how he is at the top of his game and has the drive and will to succeed in life. This song is frequently played at sporting events.

"Heart of a Champion"'s beat draws heavily from "Roundball Rock," the John Tesh-penned theme for NBC's coverage of the National Basketball Association from 1990 to 2002. The song was produced by hip-hop producer Phillip Duckett.

The song was played at Yankee Stadium before every New York Yankees game from 2004 to 2009.

The song served as the theme song for the Orange Krush during the 2005–2006 Men's Basketball season at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as well as the 2004–2005 Women's Swimming and Diving season at Miami University, who went on to win their 4th consecutive MAC Championship.

John Tesh

John Frank Tesh (born July 9, 1952) is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His Intelligence for Your Life radio show airs on nearly 300 stations, and is syndicated by Teshmedia in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. In addition, since 2014, he has hosted Intelligence for Your Life TV with his wife Connie Sellecca. The syndicated TV program airs on 174 stations that cover 93% of the potential U.S. television audience.Tesh has won six Emmys, has four gold albums, two Grammy nominations, and an Associated Press award for investigative journalism. Tesh has sold over eight million records. His live concerts have raised more than $20 million for PBS. He wrote the NBA on NBC basketball theme "Roundball Rock" regarded as one of the most memorable sports themes of all time. He is also known as the co-host of the television program Entertainment Tonight. He has previously worked as a sportscaster and host for the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the US Open, the Tour De France, Ironman Triathlon, and as a news anchor and reporter. In 2018, Tesh was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Fantasy Insider Fantasy Insider is an NBA TV show where it reviews the player's statistics and performance. Hosted by Rick Kamla it premiered in 2003. It was formerly called Gatorade Virtual GM and NBA Fantasy Hoops.

NBA Coast to Coast

NBA Coast to Coast (formerly known as NBA Fastbreak Tuesday and NBA Nation) was a weekly NBA-themed studio program which aired Tuesday nights on ESPN2.

NBA Entertainment

NBA Entertainment is the production arm of the National Basketball Association and produces many NBA-related films including team championship videos and blooper and entertainment reels. It used to be associated with CBS/Fox Video before changing its distribution partner to Warner Bros. (whose Turner Sports division runs its website and is one of its major broadcast partners).

NBA Entertainment founded in 1982.

NBA Friday

NBA Friday is a weekly presentation of National Basketball Association games on ESPN. Formerly known as NBA Friday Coast to Coast during doubleheader nights, the program starts the first Friday of the NBA season, and typically runs uninterrupted throughout the entire season. In 2006, NBA Friday was preempted from March 10 to March 31, due to ESPN deciding against counter programming the NCAA Tournament. Nearly all NBA Friday telecasts consist of a doubleheader, with one game typically from the east coast at 8:00 p.m and the west coast at 10:30 p.m.

The KIA NBA Shootaround Pregame Show, the Toyota Halftime Show, and the Target Postgame Show are the studio shows that occur before, during, and after the NBA Friday Games.

NBA Friday on ESPN is not exclusive; local sports networks may still air the game in their market. In that case, the ESPN broadcast on these markets is subject to blackout and SportsCenter is usually aired instead.

NBA TV Canada

NBA TV Canada is a Canadian pay television channel that is owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE). It is a Canadian version of NBA TV, broadcasting programming focused on the National Basketball Association, and its Canadian franchise, the Toronto Raptors.

NBA Tonight

NBA Tonight is a National Basketball Association studio program that airs on ESPN. The program used to air as part of ESPN's The Trifecta. Formerly known as NBA 2Night and NBA Fastbreak, the program, hosted by various ESPN personalities, provides highlights, analysis and updates from the night's NBA games. Segments include "3Ds", which looks at the night's top dunks, defense and dimes (assists).

NBA Wednesday

NBA Wednesday is a weekly presentation of the National Basketball Association on ESPN. Debuting in 2002, NBA Wednesday starts the first Wednesday of the NBA season and runs throughout the entire season. Games typically air at 9:00 p.m EST, following an ESPN's presentation of ACC Wednesday college basketball. NBA Wednesday is occasionally preempted by ACC Wednesday or other college basketball doubleheaders, as well as Wednesday Night Baseball.

NBA Wednesday, like NBA Friday, is not exclusive; local sports networks may still air the game in their market. In that case, the ESPN broadcast on these markets is subject to blackout and SportsCenter is usually aired instead.


The NBA on NBC is the branding used for presentations of National Basketball Association (NBA) games produced by the NBC television network in the United States. NBC held broadcast rights from 1955 to 1962 and again from 1990 (when it obtained the rights from CBS) to 2002. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid-1980s.


The NBA on SNI refers to National Basketball Association television coverage on the now defunct television network known as Sports Network Incorporated (later known as the Hughes Television Network). Coverage began in the 1962-63 season (after the NBA's deal with NBC ended) and lasted through the 1963-64 season (when the NBA entered an agreement with ABC).

NBA on television in the 1990s

As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.

NBC then succeeded the broadcast rights from 1990 to 2002. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid 1980s. Upon expiration of the contract in 2002, the league signed an agreement with ABC, which began airing games in the 2002-03 season. NBC had made a four-year $1.3 billion ($330 million/year) bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA rights, but the league instead went to ESPN and ABC with a six-year deal worth $2.4 billion ($400 million/year), a total of $4.6 billion ($766 million/year) when adding the cable deal with Turner Sports.

National Basketball Association music

The National Basketball Association has links to hip hop music and has also had its own famous anthem in Roundball Rock. In recent years, the league has embraced country music and musicians and bands that could be considered tame by some observers (such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rob Thomas and Justin Timberlake).

Before the league introduced its current promotional phrase Big Things Will Happen, the league's former promotional phrases were America's Game/NBA Action: It's Fantastic (1980s–1992), I Love This Game (1992–2007) and Where Amazing Happens (2007–2011).

Vintage NBA

Vintage NBA is an American basketball biography television series that was aired on ESPN Classic from 1999 to 2002, hosted by Robin Roberts. It is about the entire life of an NBA basketball player, coach or a league.

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