Basketball is a great sport, full of quick-paced plays and unbelievable athletes.
It’s also become the muse for some pretty awesome songs. Even if you don’t like basketball, you’ll probably like the tracks inspired by it.
From community basketball to big player names to theme songs, this list of the best basketball songs will build your energy and prepare you for a riveting game.
- Shooting Hoops – G. Love & Special Sauce
- Magic Johnson – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Basketball – Kurtis Blow
- He Got Game – Public Enemy ft. Stephen Stills
- Why Oh Why – Spearhead
- Basketball – Lil Bow Wow
- White Men Can’t Jump – Riff
- Can’t Stop Me – The Game ft. Fredwreck
- Sweet Georgia Brown – Brother Bones and His Shadows
- Dream Team – Spearhead
- I Wish – Skee-Lo
- Forever – Drake ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem
- Champions – Ron Artest
- Roundball Rock – John Tesh
- ’90s Bulls Intro Theme – Sirius
- Quad City DJs – Space Jam
Shooting Hoops – G. Love & Special Sauce
Grooving bass and a fun high makes this song feel like a good time. ‘Shooting Hoops’ is about just that—playing basketball. The song describes a bunch of guys rushing to the courts after school to play ball. Some of the guys even seem to have dreams of going pro based on the line “hoping someday all this playing will be paying.”
Related: Stay hopeful with the best songs about optimism.
Magic Johnson – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Magic Johnson played for the LA Lakers and is considered one of the best point guards of all time. The Red Hot Chili Peppers must have been huge fans to write this jumping song about him. They sing about the talent of both Johnson and the Lakers, calling the team “kings of the court.”
Basketball – Kurtis Blow
This track is an ode to basketball, and Kurtis Blow is an obvious fan of the game. He raps about how much he loves basketball, name-dropping a bunch of famous players like Rick Barry and Bill Russell. The song is lighthearted and fun, aiming to show fans’ genuine love for the sport.
He Got Game – Public Enemy ft. Stephen Stills
This song was written for the 1998 movie He Got Game, about a father hoping to get on parole and his star basketball player son. The song comments on different internal crises concerning religion, society, and the music industry. It ends with an inspirational speech, saying, “give thanks, live life, and release.”
Related: Check out some more good songs about life.
Why Oh Why – Spearhead
The basketball court holds a lot of memories for Spearhead, both good and bad. He reminisces over spending all day on the courts with his friends and how those memories are tinged with sadness now that his friends are gone. He tries to use basketball to escape all these thoughts, but his memories seem to torment him, and he complains, “Why, oh, why do memories be chasing me?”
Related: Listen to our playlist of looking back songs.
Basketball – Lil Bow Wow
Lil Bow Wow puts his own spin on ‘Basketball’ by Kurtis Blow in this track. This song version was used in the 2002 movie Like Mike, where Lil Bow Wow plays the main character, a kid with big dreams of making it in the NBA. Nothing can stop him with a pair of magical sneakers and this ego-boosting song!
Related: Good shoes are all you need! Here are some songs about sneakers.
White Men Can’t Jump – Riff
White Men Can’t Jump is a comedic film about a white basketball player who hustles people who assume he can’t play well. He finds an enemy—and then a friend—in another skillful player as the movie follows them through their lives. The song pokes fun at the assumption that a white guy wouldn’t be as good at basketball, saying, “Don’t you know that white men can’t jump?”
Related: Jump over to our list of the best songs about jumping.
Can’t Stop Me – The Game ft. Fredwreck
This song was featured on the video game NBA Live 2004, providing a perfect soundtrack to play virtual basketball. The Game raps about how unbeatable he is at basketball, which would certainly help boost any player’s ego. Lines like “who gon’ stop me when I’m dribblin’ the rock?” provide a perfect mentality for a competitive game.
Sweet Georgia Brown – Brother Bones and His Shadows
‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ features lots of lovely whistling and horns, becoming the official theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters in 1952. The Globetrotters aren’t your typical basketball team, dealing more in theatrics and comedy than competitive games. Even still, there’s no doubt they have unmatched skill with a ball!
Related: See more of the best whistle songs.
Dream Team – Spearhead
Michael Franti and Spearhead team up to talk about the problems with America’s basketball “dream team” in the 1992 Olympics. They sing about how it’s off-putting that a team of black men was chosen to represent America when they were often not given any respect. In response, they formed their own dream team full of political and social activists that fought for the lives of minorities.
Related: Here’s an inspiring list of the best songs about equal rights.
I Wish – Skee-Lo
‘I Wish’ is Skee-Lo’s biggest hit with its catchy guitar riffs and addictive melodic rapping. Skee-Lo raps about everything he is longing for, and the line “I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller” is particularly iconic. We all feel inadequate at times, and sometimes all you can do is complain about how you wish things were.
Related: If you wish you could change yourself, here are some songs about not being enough.
Forever – Drake ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem
‘Forever’ was a huge collaboration featuring some of the biggest names in hip hop and rap. Each of them takes a verse, talking about the hardships of their past, the success of their present, and their goals for their future. The music video features shots of Lebron James from his documentary, More Than a Game.
Related: This song features on our hype songs playlist.
Champions – Ron Artest
If you’ve ever played a sport, you know that feeling of winning a game (or even a championship) is a special kind of joy. ‘Champion’ is about the excitement and relief of a game well played. Ron Artest sings, “no surrender, no retreat,” perfectly capturing the dedicated mindset a true champion must have.
Related: Celebrate your success with the best winning songs!
Roundball Rock – John Tesh
‘Roundball Rock’ was used by NBC for the NBA’s theme song for about twelve years, starting in 1990. Lively horns and booming drums build anticipation and energy, a great intro to the buzzing games and high stakes of the NBA. Fun Fact: John Tesh thought of this tune while he was away from home and left a voicemail on his answering machine so he wouldn’t forget it. He knew he had something special!
’90s Bulls Intro Theme – Sirius
This intro song probably has one of the most iconic guitar riffs of all time. When you listen to it, it’s almost like you’re in the stands surrounded by a screaming crowd watching their favorite players take the court. It also has a nostalgic feel, especially if you watched the Bulls when Michael Jordan played. When you heard this song, you knew you were about to see a great game.
Quad City DJs – Space Jam
The theme song of the 1996 movie Space Jam, where Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes characters, is a jam like no other. It plays during the movie’s opening, immediately setting the tone for the upbeat and energetic movie. The song encourages everyone to dance it up at the Space Jam: “Here’s your chance, do your dance.”
Related: Head over to our list of good dancing songs.