The music most associated with basketball in general is arguably hip hop and rap. The general reference in lyrics, the stereotypical clothing and the regular appearance of rap and hip hop stars at NBA games is perhaps a testament to this, let alone the appearance of countless basketball jerseys in a rap and hip hop setting. There are a number of crossovers as well in the cultural uniform, which perhaps was more evident in the 90’s with players and rappers alike wearing baggy jeans and tops and often sporting a baseball cap or bandana of sorts. It could be argued that hip hop and basketball have evolved together in terms of sophistication and fashion with artists like Kanye West and Jay Z rapping about their wealth, expensive accessories, clothes and fashion icons such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. In conjunction with this, it’s no coincidence that players can be seen turning up at arenas sporting the formentioned latest fashions.

However, in thinking about this, I started to think about the classic tunes used by basketball teams at courtside during games and prior to tip off, to get the fans excited. The anomaly in a strange way to all the tracks I could think of, was rap and hip hop. In recent years rap and hip hop has been more widely used, my home town Plymouth Raiders used to use a remix of Kanye West’s 21st Century track for the team intros. Teams across the UK I’m sure will use an upbeat dance or hip hop track to bring their beloved teams to the court, but it’s not necessarily these tunes we’re looking at. So, here are a selection of five tracks synonymous with pre games, during games and timeouts:

We Will Rock You – Queen

Perhaps one of the most recognised basketball tracks of all time, even today the song is still inviting the crowd to stamp their feet and clap along to the chanting master piece, whilst informing the oppositions fans and team that We Will indeed, Rock You.

Get Ready – 2 Unlimited

Used widely in basketball arenas across the world, this dance classic was an iconic 90’s basketball tune. Often used for a teams introduction to the court for the pre announcement layup lines, the hook line “Y’all Ready For This” was echoing around for well over a decade and can often be heard around arenas today.

Jump – Van Halen

Not as commonly heard perhaps in the current basketball universe, this rock classic is definitely a hoops hit. Often in the playlist for many teams in the late 80’s, 90’s and even into the 2000’s it was a fan favourite and can still be heard over the PA now, although not as frequently as it was once used.

Y.M.C.A. – The Village People

A timeout classic. Often in the case of a winning situation with maybe four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, this tune was and in some cases is, a sure fire way to get the fans out of their seat to follow the very iconic and specific dance routine that accompanies the famous and world renowned chorus.

The Final Countdown – Europe

Another rock song associated with basketball and perhaps most American sports. This song was again widely heard in the 80’s and 90’s with evidence of its existence still echoing in recent years. It’s very catchy lyrics in the chorus quite literally telling fans it was time to leave the bar area and take there seats, as it was the final countdown to introductions and tip off.

And so completes the top five, somewhat retro but certainly classic courtside top 5 tracks. Of course there are many others that could definitely be nominated for consideration. Two more Queen songs infact are still in use today at arenas all over the UK and indeed the world. “Another One Bites There Dust” very often follows an oposition player being fouled out, as they make their long walk back to the bench. And then there’s the classic, “We Are The Champions,” which is in many ways the crowning moment of any teams cup, trophy or championship win. Also “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam is used for an oposition player fouling out, with the crowd waving goodbye to the ejected player. Important to mention this point that there are also a massive number of sound effects and drum beats used during play, using clips of music or TV shows to add an exclamation mark to an on court even. My personal favourite was the Brighton Bears use of Homer Simpsons “D’oh”, which included thirty one different “D’oh’s” over a fifteen second period, which was gifted to any oposition player that was unfortunate enough to miss a free throw.

Music is and always has been an important part of sport in general, but the clever use of the PA system in basketball enhances the fans experience and leaves a lasting memory.