NBC Looking At Bringing Back John Tesh’s Iconic “Roundball Rock” Theme Song For NBA & Olympic Basketball Games

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan Steve Kerr

Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr with NBC Sports' Jim Gray after winning the NBA Championship in 1997 Manny Millan/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

For basketball fans already mourning the potential loss of TNT’s Inside the NBA, there may be some small consolation: NBC may bring back John Tesh‘s iconic “Roundball Rock.”

NBCU is reportedly set to bid $2.5 a year for rights to NBA games going forward, according to the Wall Street Journal. If the offer is successful, the company would supplant media rival Warner Bros. Discovery, whose TBS and TNT cable networks began carrying NBA games in 1988. TNT has been the flagship Turner network associated with pro basketball, with its Inside the NBA the gold standard of sports studio shows, since 1989.

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The NBA’s other two partners in its next contract are said to be Disney and Amazon’s Prime Video.

If NBC is successful in securing the third slot, it would likely mean the end of the Emmy-winning Inside the NBA, much to the chagrin of sports fans. But when one door closes, another opens.

Longtime hoops fans remember fondly the song’s peppy intro alongside the network’s coverage from 1990-2002, associating it with the NBA’s ascendance over that period and Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls winning six championships.

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Tesh was asked today on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz whether NBC has contacted him about the possibility of returning the theme to its rightful place at the forefront of NBA coverage.

“They have, actually,” Tesh told Le Batard. “It’s nothing firm. But they said, ‘Hey can you stay frosty on this? — like a Navy Seals thing — because we’d love to talk to you about this.’ We’re actually talking right now about licensing it to them for the Olympics in Paris.”

The tune was used in NBC’s Summer Olympics basketball coverage in 2008, 2016 and 2020 for commercial bumpers and starting lineup announcements. It’s also been used by Fox in that network’s college basketball coverage since 2018.

“At the end of June, we’re heading to Nashville and we’ve got a full orchestra on hold and we’re going to re-record it,” Tesh said. “I think it still sounds great, but I wanted to make a few changes.”

The song was such a cultural touchstone that Saturday Night Live famously parodied the pitch meeting between Tesh and NBC execs in a skit with Vince Vaughn, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon Jason Sudeikis and Tim Robinson.

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