There's a John Tesh song you've heard hundreds of times. You love it. It gets you psyched up. It's called “Roundball Rock” and is also known as the “NBA on NBC” theme.
You can play it below, and after doing so will likely not think of the former Entertainment Tonight co-host — who performs tonight at the Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University in Malibu — the same again.
That's right, the music you heard during each of the Chicago Bulls' NBA finals victories was composed by Tesh, who lives here and has also served as the keyboardist for Yanni.
An impressive physical specimen himself, the 6'6″ Tesh conceived the melody for “Roundball Rock” while abroad covering the Tour de France, and, for fear of forgetting it left it on his home's answering machine, a recording of which you can also hear above.
The theme ran from 1990-2002, and it's not his only contribution to '90s nostalgia, as he also helmed Fox Kids' “Bobby's World” theme. But it's certainly his most iconic. While Tesh wasn't closely identified with the track at first — he even initially submitted it to NBC under an alias — he began to be know for it when Conan O'Brien started talking it up during the period of his Tesh-obsession on Late Night. There was a running gag where Tesh, sitting at the piano, would be showered with money when it was played, and a campaign to insert it into other programming when the network lost NBA coverage.
In any case, there's no doubting it's an inspiring tune. Why does it strike a chord? Is it because it's tied to arguably the most exciting decade in the basketball history? Or, as sportswriter Jason Clinkscales points out, because unlike Johnny Pearson's “Heavy Action” and Hank Williams Jr.'s “Are You Ready For Some Football,” it hasn't been in an endless stream of commercials?
NBC was praised for using “Roundball Rock” in their 2008 Olympic basketball coverage, and faced some criticism when they neglected to do so this year.
But otherwise it's laid fairly dormant. Tesh himself talks it up, however, proudly boasting that it put his kids through college. He's happily reenacted it with the paparazzi, used it to lead his radio broadcasts and put it in his concerts. He may even perform it tonight, in which case you'll get to experience the hot-dribbling action courtside.
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