Watch: How John Tesh Wrote the NBA’s Iconic Theme Song

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The (arguably) most recognizable theme song in professional sports history wasn’t recorded in a lavish studio — but rather, on a simple answering machine.

While the Dallas Mavericks await either the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy, the Wall Street Journal decided to revisit the second life of “Roundball Rock”—the song now synonymous with the NBA thanks to infectious repeats on Sunday afternoon television sets in the ’90s.

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“DA DA DA DA DA DAAA DA DA,” sings the piece’s composer John Tesh, who, in the video posted above, recalls being in Europe when musical providence came to him. “I called my answering machine at home and left a message to myself. Although that sounds goofy, what happened is that the theme I played into the machine is what they played whenever the Chicago Bulls crushed another basketball team.”

When ABC bought the rights to televise the NBA in 2002, Tesh offered the song up for use. However, the studio declined, saying that they wanted a new theme to set their broadcast apart from NBC’s.

The song, however, is still widely associated with the NBA, spawning offshoots in everything from videogames to rap samples. The residuals from the track have reaped Tesh rewards financially, but more importantly, it may have secured him a spot in the pantheon of online immortality.

“They played it every five seconds—into commercials, out of commercials,” Tesh tells the Journal. “It definitely put one of my kids through college.” (via WSJ)

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