NBA on NBC Theme Song: Coming Back In 2025?

Scott Daly


With reports that NBC has made a $2.5 billion bid to start airing NBA games again in 2025, the question has to be asked – will the “NBA on NBC” theme song be coming back? It has to…right? Composed by John Tesh and famously named “Roundball Rock,” this melody remains one of the most iconic pieces of sports music ever created. Introduced in the 1990s, this theme song became synonymous with NBA broadcasts on NBC, accompanying the excitement of basketball games for a generation of viewers until 2002. The melody is so ingrained in the cultural fabric of the sport that even years after NBC stopped airing NBA games, the music still evokes a sense of nostalgia and recognition among fans.

If you were a child of the 90s, this song is what you grew up on. Jordan’s Bulls. Ewing’s Knicks. Sir Charles’ Suns. Olajuwon’s Rockets. Drexler’s Blazers. It all got started every weekend with a Bob Costas monologue and this song. It was the stuff of legend.

John Tesh, the genius composer of “Roundball Rock,” created a musical identity for the NBA that has stood the test of time. It has become a staple in other NBA-related features and events. The process of composing the theme is as memorable as the tune itself. Tesh came up with the initial melody while on the road and sang it into his hotel room’s phone answering machine, ensuring its survival. Over the years, the theme has made notable re-emergences, such as during NBC’s Olympic basketball coverage, illustrating its lasting connection to the game.

So no matter what the cost, NBC needs to bring this back. It alone is worth the price of admission.

Key Takeaways

  • “Roundball Rock” is a timeless piece of music that defined the NBA on NBC broadcasts from the 1990s until 2002.
  • John Tesh’s iconic composition remains a beloved symbol of the sport, eliciting nostalgia and recognition.
  • The theme’s endurance is evident in its continued use in basketball events beyond the NBA on NBC.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The NBA on NBC theme song, composed by John Tesh, remains a hallmark of sports broadcasting. It transcends mere background music, embodying the excitement of the NBA.

Be sure to watch the SNL version of the song with the official lyrics (just kidding):


“Buh buh buh buh buh basketball gimme gimme gimme the ball because I’m gonna dunk it…YEAH!”
Repeat 100 times

Iconic Melody and Composer

John Tesh, a celebrated composer, created what is now known as the “Roundball Rock”, the NBA on NBC theme. Its inception came from an answering machine, where Tesh recorded the melody that struck him in a hotel room.

Impact on Sports Broadcasting

The NBA on NBC theme significantly shaped how sports were presented on TV. It set the benchmark for other sports themes, making each broadcast an event. Ratings soared as fans tuned in to hear the familiar anthem signaling the start of an exciting sports clash.

NBA and Popular Culture Interplay

“Roundball Rock” became a staple not just for NBA fans but also in popular culture. Saturday Night Live and other entertainment platforms have featured it, spotlighting its wide appeal. The song is synonymous with memories of NBA legends like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson dominating the playoffs.

Evolution and Aftermath

Even after NBC ceased NBA broadcasts, the theme’s influence persisted. It became a nostalgic relic for many fans, evoking reflections of past summer olympics and the electric atmosphere of packed sports bars in New York City. The tune’s absence in modern broadcasts is notable, marking the end of an era in sports entertainment.