The Best Basketball Songs Played in the NBA

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For the longest time, the world of basketball and music have always been linked. With iconic songs such as Space Jam, Mo Bamba by Sheck Wes, Forever by Drake, and more, it is no secret that the NBA has been one of the ever-favorite subjects of modern music. Whether you’re warming up for the game or between intense quarters, there is a song for you. The NBA alone has seen its fair share of iconic music, so let’s take a quick playback of some of the best basketball songs played in the NBA.

Pre-Game Basketball SongsPre-Game Basketball Songs

An NBA player’s pre-game ritual is an important part of their evening. During the pre-game, players loosen up, feel their shots, and adjust their bodies to the game plan. Without a good pre-game, players may not be able to perform to the best of their abilities or, worse, get injured. And, for a pre-game to be good, it needs good music. 

Whether it’s a song to hype players up or introduce them, here are some of the best and most iconic pre-game songs in the NBA: 

Sirius – Alan Parsons Project

In the 90s, hearing this song only meant one thing: you were about to have a long night fighting arguably the greatest team ever. The ‘96 Chicago Bulls made this song theirs, and hearing this play in the background while the announcer introduced a certain 6’6” guard from North Carolina certainly pressured visiting teams. Despite being four decades old, this song remains relevant and can be seen in NBA players’ respective pregame playlists to help them channel their inner Michael Jordan. 

Forever – Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem 

In 2009, four of this generation’s greatest rappers assembled to produce a song dedicated to the kid from Akron, LeBron James. The result was a 6-minute masterpiece that became one of the most elite basketball pregame songs to ever exist. The song talked about LeBron’s rise to stardom and his dominance during that time, which is still ongoing to this day in 2023. There’s just something about the upbeat music mixed with heavy beats and trumpets that gets you going. 

300 Violin Orchestra – Jorge Quintero

These days, Jorge Quintero’s masterpiece serves as one of the hardest songs played at NBA games. It’s one of those songs that is always used in basketball highlight reels, inside and outside the NBA. This song can transform even a reel of bricked shots into one of the most hyped videos ever. Jokes aside, the 300 Violin Orchestra is a great way to get into the groove because of its slow yet hard progression. 

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Ever since this song came out in 2002 via the movie 8 Mile, it has done nothing but pump people up. Lose Yourself is Eminem’s perennial hype song, and it talks about surrendering to the music to get into the zone. Any NBA player today probably knows this song, and it is no secret that this is one of the best basketball songs to warm up to, no matter how long you’ve been in the league. 

Remember the Name – Fort Minor

Another classic, Fort Minor’s major 2005 hit, is all about introducing yourself and is the ultimate inspirational song to pump you up. This song is perfect for players who are yet to break out in the NBA or superstars who want to continue dominating. The song serves as a musical reminder that greatness and recognition are achieved with 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, and 50% pain. 

Basketball Songs Played During a Game (During timeouts, breaks, and crucial game moments)Basketball Songs Played During a Game (During timeouts, breaks, and crucial game moments)

Different parts of the game demand different types of music. During the breaks of the game’s first three quarters, players need to be energized with upbeat music. However, during the 4th Quarter, players may need music that will allow them to dig deep and make crucial baskets. Playing music during breaks is also crucial to keeping the fans engaged and pumped up behind their teams. With that said, here are some of the most popular and iconic in-game songs in the NBA: 

Cha Cha Slide – DJ Casper

Cha Cha Slide by DJ Casper has become iconic in the NBA due to a specific part in the song where the listeners are asked to clap their hands. Arena DJs have banked on this song for years now to get the crowd engaged and clapping in the game, especially during timeouts. While this song isn’t as hyped or as inspirational as other iconic in-game tunes, it still has a unique effect on the audience watching the game. 

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘n Roses

Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘n Roses is a song that will surely pump you up. The legendary riff by none other than Slash himself never fails to rile up crowds of people, no matter the sport. In the NBA, this song is often used as an intro song when the starting five is announced, but it is also a great in-game tune. Welcome to the Jungle is often played in the fourth quarter when the home team needs an additional boost to finish the game with a win. 

Kernkraft 400 – Zombie Nation

A fan favorite of the Golden State Warriors faithful. The Kernkraft 400 is a techno remix derived from a tune from a Commodore 64 game. You may not know how this song goes, but once you hear it, you’ll immediately recognize it as one of the most popular basketball songs played at games. This song is often played in the 3rd or 4th quarters to keep the audience in check and chanting “Oh” to the song’s tune. 

Jump Around – Kriss Kross

This song is known for its unique intro with trumpet-like sounds before going into its upbeat progression. This song was released in 1992 but remains to be one of the most well-loved and recognizable in-game sounds today. This is usually played during timeouts or during interactive halftime segments. 

Timber – Pitbull ft. Ke$ha

Pitbull’s timeless track, released in 2013, became the sound of the NBA Playoffs in 2014. Anyone who has been watching the NBA for some time now should know how good those times were. This is why, up until today, Timber is still one of the go-to songs in arenas around the league today, especially during timeouts and early moments of the game. 

Basketball Songs Played During a Game (During timeouts, breaks, and crucial game moments) (2)NBA Player Music Playlist: What Do NBA Players Listen to?

Much like anyone in the world, different NBA players have different tastes in music. NBA players generally listen to hip-hop. However, with the globalization of the game, many players from Europe and even Asia have joined the league — which also brings diversity in music. Let’s take a look at what today’s most popular NBA players listen to: 

LeBron James

LeBron has been in the league for more than two decades already, so it’s safe to say that he has listened to a lot of different songs throughout his career. Drake’s 2009 hit, Forever, was made for The King. According to LeBron, he listens to a lot of hip-hop and R&B to pump himself up before games or workouts. He has also expressed his affinity for classical music, like Beethoven, to calm himself down. 

Kevin Durant

KD is one of the most prolific scorers the NBA has ever seen and is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The Suns forward is a big fan of hip-hop and R&B and has even recently shared his top five albums of 2022. This includes Kodak Black’s Back for Everything, Steve Lacy’s Gemini Rights, 38 Spesh’s 7 Shots, and Future’s I Never Liked You. KD is also a fan of Drake and has been vocal about listening to the Canadian artist’s songs, especially during pre-game. 

Steph Curry

Well, one thing’s for sure: Steph Curry listens to Paramore. Kidding aside, the greatest shooter of all time’s playlist is very diverse, according to Steph himself. This includes songs in the following genres: R&B, Hip Hop, Christian rap, Gospel music, and country. He does not lean on to one genre and simply listens to whatever he’s in the mood for, apparently. However, he has mentioned that Lupe Fiasco and Lacre are two of his favorite artists to listen to before games. 

Nikola Jokic

Outside of his on-court prowess, Jokic is known for his unique lifestyle and generational play that both deviate from the usual things that we’ve seen in the league. Of course, his musical tastes are different, too. Jokic has always been private about his off-court activities, so we only know about the music he listens to because of teammates and insider scoops. Nuggets teammate Austin Rivers shared a video of their workout facility blasting traditional Serbian music while Jokic was working out. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo 

Like Jokic, The Greek Freak is also an international star who has dominated the league. Unlike Jokic, though, Giannis is known to be more adventurous in trying our American food, lifestyle, and music. Giannis’ JBL playlist consists mostly of American mainstream pop and rap from artists like Justin Bieber, Drake, J. Cole, and Lil Nas X. 

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Basketball Songs Played in the NBA

Music and the NBA have always crossed paths through the years. To players, pre-game songs help them loosen up so that they can perform well and avoid injuries. Meanwhile, for fans, in-game tunes are there to help them stay engaged behind their teams. The NBA has also seen its fair share of iconic songs associated with or even directly dedicated to players such as LeBron James. One thing is for sure: music is an integral part of the game and basketball songs will evolve together with the sport. 

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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