Many people consider basketball a culture rather than just a game. This culture shows up and is represented across different media, including music.
Many artists have used their talents to create basketball-themed music. Some artists include players’ names in their lyrics.
If you’re a basketball fan, it will be no surprise to you that basketball and hip-hop go hand in hand.
Hence, we’ve picked songs from this genre. Players often prefer to listen to rap pieces related to basketball when practicing to keep up with the beat. At the same time, others simply enjoy having some of these jams in their playlist.
So, today, we’ve picked the five best basketball songs of all time.
Whether you’re looking for motivation for an important game or merely want to add some new pieces to your playlist, check out our suggestions.
Our Top Five Basketball Songs
5. Drake - Forever
The song came out in 2009, starring great and well-known artists, such as Drake, Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Kanye. The music video on Youtube has generated more than 300 million views. Since its release, it has become one of the most famous and listened-to basketball songs.
Besides the outstanding performance and the motivational touch of the lyrics, the video features young Lebron James - one of the greatest basketball players we know.
It features clips of Lebron playing basketball as a child from the documentary “More Than A Game,” about James and four of his teammates. The documentary covers his pre-school and high school years. Then, it goes on to follow the Ohio basketball team that gradually rises to the top of the young teams.
The documentary features many songs which later were released as singles. One such single is “Stronger” by Mary J. Blige and “Forever” by Drake, featuring Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Kanye.
As a result of the great execution of the song and the video, “Forever” became the most downloaded song the week of September 15, 2009.
On September 24 of the same year, the song reached another peak. It became #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, which made it the highest-ranked song of Drake at that period.
4. Ron Artest - Champions
In the 2010 NBA finals, Artest scored 20 points in the clincher and a three-pointer in the fourth quarter. This secured the win for the Lakers against the Boston Celtics with four games to three.
That year, Ron Artest won his first championship ring. What's more, the Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, gave him the title “Most Valuable Player” of game seven.
Ron Artest wrote this song before becoming a part of the Lakers. Therefore, this was well before he had any idea that he would play a significant role in game seven.
To be exact, it was one year before winning the game against the Boston Celtics. So in a way, he predicted the Lakers’ win in this song, “Champions.”
Since the big win, the song has become highly successful. To be exact, it is the most famous one out of Artest’s album “My World.”
Perhaps the fans’ favorite part of this song is the hook. Most of them love it so much because it brings back West Coast vibes. Also, it's similar to another rapper from the Lakers, Shaquille O’ Neal.
3. Shaq - I Know I Got Skillz
Shaquille O'Neal is a former basketball player and entrepreneur. He's considered one of the greatest players and centers in basketball.
“I Know I Got Skillz,'' officially released in 1993, is one of the most famous songs off Shaq’s debut album, “Shaq Diesel.” Many people consider this song one of the best rap pieces performed by an NBA star. This fact undoubtedly helped the single become certified gold by the RIAA in 1993.
While Shaq’s rapping career was relatively short-lived, we at least got this piece which ranked #8 on Billboard Hot 100.
If you need something to remind you how excellent your skills are, you might want to check this song out. Shaq has never been a modest person, and in this song, he doesn’t shy away either.
The song focuses on showing off how great his game and dunks are. And of course, he doesn’t forget to throw a little shade at Charles Barkley with the verse, “all you jealous punks can’t stop my dunks.” That said, the upbeat music and flow are certainly going to keep you motivated for practice or a game.
2. Quad City DJs - Space Jam
We doubt there's anyone who hasn't heard of the movie Space Jam. This classic featured the legendary basketball games between Michael Jordan and Looney Toons characters.
Perhaps the movie's theme song is not precisely the one a basketball player would listen to pregame. However, it’s worth including it in your playlist of basketball songs. Some players find that the song is quite helpful when practicing because it makes them speed up to match the tempo of the music.
Besides the great cartoon, the theme song compliments the movie. It gives off 90s vibes, while the lyrics and beat are catchy. Because of this, people can easily spend quite some time listening to it.
In fact, the soundtrack has become successful like no other. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 100, right behind “Nine Lives” from Aerosmith. In 1997, the track deservedly was certified double platinum, and in 2001 it was certified 6x platinum.
1. Macklemore x Ryan Lewis - Wings
There’s no way we could wrap up this article without including this famous song. Released as a debut single from “The Heist” album, the song came out in 2011.
Since then, it has generated over 200 million views on Youtube alone. Many basketball fans find it touching and eye-opening. It's even found an audience among those who have only the slightest interest in basketball because of its touching content.
Macklemore revealed in an interview that the song is focused on today’s consumerism. Furthermore, it's based on his experience with basketball apparel as a child.
The music video starts with Macklemore as a child. He's wearing a Chicago Bulls shirt with the number 23 and Nike sneakers that supposedly would make him fly. This number refers to basketball player Michael Jordan; the sneakers also reference him and his Air Jordan brand.
The young Macklemore believes that he will become a great basketball player if he has these expensive shoes.
As the story unfolds, someone steals the young boy's sneakers. This makes him realize that the shoes aren’t unique. In turn, he realizes that society misled him into thinking that these shoes would make his dreams come true.
With “Wings,” the American Hip-hop duo shows that the worth of a person is not determined by their belongings. People do not gain value just from the items and apparel they own. T
hey show that being a great basketball player requires more than just possessing the latest Air Jordan model. The combination of deep meaning behind the lyrics, flow and beat keep this song still popular to this day.
Wrapping it Up: Best Basketball Songs
Here you go - the best basketball songs in descending order. As most of us already know, music can affect our mood.
In this case, music can affect the player's performance. This list might be beneficial for athletes who want to boost their adrenaline before a game. Other people might also find songs that can become their favorite.
You might also like: Best Basketball Documentaries to Learn More About This Game