|Single by John Tesh|
"Roundball Rock" 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. 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. 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 and Tesh releasing a free MP3 version on his website to commemorate the 2008 NBA Finals. 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.
Fox Sports announced in December 2018 that it had acquired the rights to "Roundball Rock", which it will play for select college basketball broadcasts. In addition, it will also play the song during telecasts of the Jr. NBA Global Championship tournament, starting in summer 2019.
- TV Theme - NBC, NBA 02.wav
- Gayomali, Chris (May 26, 2011). "Watch: How John Tesh Wrote the NBA's Iconic Theme Song". Time. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
- John Tesh (2008-08-12), 'ORIGINAL' NBA on NBC Theme - Roundball Rock - John Tesh, retrieved 2019-06-18
- Rovell, Darren (June 12, 2002). "The day Tesh's music might die". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "The Second Wind of John Tesh's NBA Theme". The Wall Street Journal. May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
- Chase, Chris (August 10, 2008). "The music of John Tesh is eternal". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- 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
- "NBC brilliantly played 'Roundball Rock' for the Falcons' basketball-themed celebration". For The Win. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
- "Fox Sports is bringing John Tesh's iconic 'Roundball Rock' back to basketball broadcasts". For The Win. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
- Gay, Jason (26 May 2011), "The Second Wind of John Tesh's NBA Theme", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 13 November 2011