Inside some of the most entertaining hoops references in music.

Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz on Unsplash

Basketball and music have always had a strong intersection. Your body naturally responds to that heavy synth in “The Final Countdown” or the stomp-stomp-clap in “We Will Rock You” with excitement, and for good reason. Those songs have been played at possibly every basketball game in existence.

Musicians are aware of this crossover, too. As a result, they’re constantly dropping references to basketball within their lyrics. Players, teams, arenas…even the salary cap has made an appearance in at least one song.

Some of these references are worthy of further examination. Let’s check out three:

Big L — “M.V.P.”

The line: “And every time I’m…

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Because hopefully, I’m not the only one replaying N64 classics right now…

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been taking this time of social distancing to revisit some nostalgic video games. Or maybe you’re being a productive member of society. Either way, I’m jealous of you.

Whether you’re getting things done or not, you’ve surely spent an afternoon or two playing Mario Kart 64. This was one of the go-to multiplayer games for the console, but the single-player mode was quite thorough, too. …

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It’s hard to believe I ever completed a marathon. I don’t consider myself a runner. At all.

A marathon is 26.2 miles. 138,336 feet. 1,660,032 inches. I ran that distance!

Okay, I didn’t actually run the entire time. I hit a wall around mile 15 and shifted between slow jogs and walks, my legs the equivalent of melted marshmallows. There was a bathroom break, too.

Still, it’s an accomplishment I’ll always cherish.

Today, getting out the door to run a few miles feels like a chore. However, I know the value of a good run. …

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Is there anything more satisfying than the first bite of a bowl of cereal? You have the perfect blend of milk and cereal pieces, just waiting to be chomped. Like, nothing would make them happier than to cannonball into your mouth.


The second and third bites are pretty enjoyable, too. Your ratio of milk to cereal is skewed a little bit, sure, but not so much that you can’t work things out.


Bites four and five are where things start getting tricky. It’s highly unlikely you’ve maintained an efficient ratio, and now the remaining cereal bits are starting…

I wonder how long until it’s rude to wake them up.

I’ll give them three more minutes.

Oh boy, is it time to walk yet?! I gotta peeeeee.

Ow! Was that glass always there?

Why do they look at me while I’m pooping? It’s so embarrassing.

Ooh, a squirrel! Shoot, it got away. Next time. It WILL be mine next time.

FOOD! I hope they drop some of their breakfast, too. That’s a bonus.

I’m itchy!

I’m tired.

This is taking too long.

Ooh, here comes the bowl!

I’m itchy!

A new record! I ate the whole bowl. They’re so…

“Now for the grand finale! Bamboo will do his famous ‘roll down the hill’ trick!”

A dozen people stood before the panda pen. Bamboo gazed longingly over at Millie, his pen mate. Millie was the more popular panda, but it was her naptime now, so Bamboo took center stage. Millie looked so peaceful laying on her patch of grass. Her body softly lifted in rhythm with her breathing. A gentle breeze rustled her fur. How Bamboo wished that could have been him…

Bamboo snapped back to reality. His trainer, Walter, shoved a piece of bamboo in his face. Didn’t Walter…

“That’s absolutely it — I have had enough!”

Theo was fuming. If you looked closely enough, you could see smoke coming out of his ears.

“This entire place is riddled with incompetence! Everywhere I turn, it’s just one flub after another. How did anyone ever let you all in charge?”

He looked at Waylon, the eldest employee in the office.

“You think just because you’ve been here since the Byzantine Era, you get to make up the rules on the fly? Pathetic.”

Theo then turned to Janice, who had only started four weeks ago.

“And you, you come in here…

“Say cheese!”

Can you remember the last time you actually said “cheese” when someone was taking your picture? I sure can’t. But it makes sense — saying “cheese” turns your mouth into a toothy grin, so you’re already halfway to looking like you’re enjoying yourself.

And now I’m here craving cheese while we’re waiting to get the family picture taken. I could get myself a nice wheel of brie or gruyere, I suppose, though neither one of those is really my favorite. Come to think of it, I don’t know what my favorite kind of cheese is. I like cheese…

“Ooh, look how cute young Blaine is!”

“He’s got your eyes, Bethany!”

“C’mere, I just want to give him a smooch!”

The office crowded around my coworker Bethany. She had just given birth to a baby boy, who was making his public debut.

I always feel for the babies in this situation. Can you imagine being shaken from blissful slumber, only to be passed around like a basketball during Harlem Globetrotters practice? You were having a great dream, probably about having a great nap. …

Joey Held

Writer, podcast host, voice actor | Parks n Wrecked podcast: | Basketball + pop culture newsletter:

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