The NBA season is right around the corner, and with a new season comes some changes fans are used to: some players are on new teams, some teams have new jerseys, some arenas have new names. But one thing that will never, ever change is our beloved NBA on ESPN theme song, which we all know and love and sing together in the living room.
Hold on, I’m being told we have some breaking news.
No! This stinks! Why does it sound so somber? Picture sitting down in front of your TV on a Friday night when this comes on after a commercial break. You’d think something terrible had just happened inside Crypto dot com Arena (and I’m not talking about the Lakers offense, hey!). The general vibe of this song is “Fresh-from-Degrassi Drake performs at a Roman chariot race immediately after one of the horses had to be put down”
It’s gotta be nearly impossible to write a good theme song these days. People are fiercely passionate about their nostalgia, and we associate the classic theme songs with fond memories of seasons past (well, most of us). But it feels like everything composed solely for modern day TV has amalgamated into a hybrid of pickup truck/insurance/home improvement faux-trap. This is music to introduce a keynote speaker at a plumbing sales industry convention.
The triumphant farting horns are, at best, a decade out of relevancy. This sounds like something Hudson Mohawke left on his hard drive in 2011. Scott Storch made this beat while falling asleep on the toilet. I know someone at ESPN typed “macklemore can’t hold us type beat” into YouTube.
Look, as far as sports television goes, nothing is ever going to top football themes. The NFL on Fox theme gets me so hyped it could unclog an artery. And you’re never going to top John Tesh’s “Roundball Rock”, so why even try to replicate it with a modern twist?
I’m not saying we need to get Aphex Twin on the beat, but would it hurt to try something different? Drum & bass is trending up right now. Gen Z loves the early 2000s, maybe something Switchfoot-adjacent would get the kids stoked about Pacers-Timberwolves primetime. All I ask is that we bench the brass section.