By Mike Chamernik
This is one of my favorite videos on the internet:
What a collection of characters the 1994-95 Bullets were. A 7’7″ Romanian guy, two members of the Fab Five, a no-nonsense future coach, and a random assortment of “That guy!” players from the 1990s, all in a video with cheesy lip-syncing, outstanding overacting, and, yes, a tremendously catchy song that makes me wish I were a Bullets fan.
The Bullets aren’t the only NBA team to be honored in song. Before we get to the others, here’s a quick reminder of our ground rules: I ignored adopted songs, like how “Chelsea Dagger” is now a Blackhawks song and “Sweet Caroline” is an anthem for Red Sox Nation. Those songs don’t make references to those teams and were their own pieces of music before being attached to sports. I ignored team remixes to popular songs, because nearly every team has its own terrible version of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.” I also didn’t include fan-made songs because any yutz can make an EDM beat on his laptop and lay over some half-baked lyrics. And I stuck to things that are available on YouTube.
Ready? Here we go.
Cleveland Cavaliers – “Come On Cavs”
Much like the Indians, the Cavaliers have multiple theme songs, seven in all. The most notable of them is 1974’s “Come On Cavs,” a funky horn-driven entry. Local radio personality and jingle writer Larry Morrow created the song. It cost $10,000 to make and a jingle singer, Julien C. Barber, sang the lyrics.
Fun fact: Early 1980s Cavs owner Ted Stepien could easily be considered the worst owner ever, but an underrated bad move of his was ditching “Come On Cavs” for a polka tune.
Detroit Pistons – “Three Peat Beat”
This high-tempo hip hop song appeared in the spring of 1991, after consecutive Pistons titles and as the team was striving for its third in a row. If the YouTube description of the song is to be believed, “Three Peat Beat” was never heard again after the Bulls swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals that year to begin their own three-peat quest.
Notable lyrics: The song is very general, referencing the Pistons once and never mentioning Detroit or any players by name. The most the singer and background singers allude to is “The boys from Motown.”
Houston Rockets – “That’s My Team”
Houston rapper Mr. Luke made this song in 2008, an effort that name-drops not only Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming but also Carl Landry, Luis Scola and Steve Novak.
Fun fact: This song uses the “Chopped and Screwed” rap music style that originated in Houston, where DJs take songs, slow them down significantly and repeat the lyrics. I like the local synergy.
Memphis Grizzlies – “We Don’t Bluff”
After getting ejected from a game 2012 for nearly fighting with Thunder C Kendrick Perkins, Randolph uttered the phrase “There’s a lot of bluffing going on on the court, that’s all. And I don’t bluff.” The phrase became the team’s motto and Memphis native DJ Paul, of the Academy Award-winning rap group Three 6 Mafia, made a song from it.
Notable lyric: “They call us the Grizzlies/ Beat ’em with our bare hands.” Perfect badass song in honor of a badass player on a badass team.
The “Miami Heat Theme” is an R&B song with a gospel choir, such a 1990s song. The video is outragously unintentionally funny, with the close-ups of the players faces superimposed over highlights and Heat players making cameos, dancing in the background. Miami-area hip hop artist Flo Rida released “We Already Won” after the Heat won their first title in 2012.
No wonder everyone hated this team: Oh wait, “We Already Won” was released only a week after LeBron’s Decision in 2010. They not only hadn’t won, but they hadn’t even played a game yet! “We already won, we already won/ And ain’t no need to play no more games/ We already won, we already won/ And ain’t no more need to play no more games/ Lemme hear you say we number one/ we number one/ we number one/ We already won, we already won, hey.”
Milwaukee Bucks – “Green And Growing (The Bucks Don’t Stop Here)”
In what might be this piece’s most annoying song, “Green and Growing” was released in 1977 and served as the intro song to Bucks telecasts for years afterwards.
Fun fact: Grantland head honcho Bill Simmons revived the song by embedding the song in every column where he mentions the Bucks.
New York Knicks – “Go New York Go”
The Knicks remade this catchy song a few times. The original version reference the 1994 Finals team, the 1999 version was about that year’s eighth-seed-to-finalist squad, and the 2012-13 version featured the team that ended up winning 54 games and came close to a Finals run. As you can hear, the music genre of the song was changed in each version, too.
Fun fact: Swizz Beatz made a remix to the song in 2011 and it wasn’t well-received.
Philadelphia 76ers – “1-2-3-4-5-Sixers!”
This is just a simple song with simple lyrics and simple math.
Outtakes: Before this season began, the Sixers got a few players to try to sing the song.
Two classic examples of the early 1990s, both songs have videos which are a mix of highlights with Blazers players in the studio lip-syncing the songs. The songs helped raise money for Portland Boys and Girls Clubs.
Notable lyric: “Bust a bucket, who’d a dunk it, Blazer duty, super sunk it, slammin’ geez it, killer threes it, go up-get it-got it-good!” Man, that’s a tongue-twister.
Seattle Supersonics – “Not In Our House”
Seattle’s Sir-Mix-A-Lot made this song during the 1992-93 season, and Sonics players Michael Cage, Steve Scheffler, Gerald Paddio, Gary Payton and Eddie Johnson made cameos in the video.
Fun fact: Since the Sonics have departed the city, “Not In Our House” has actually gained some steam.
I mentioned the 1994-95 version of “You Da Man” at the beginning of this piece, but the Bullets revamped it for the next season as well. Musician and future E-Street Band member Nils Lofgren, who was raised in D.C., made “Bullets Fever” in 1978 after the team won the NBA Finals.
Fun fact: “Bullets Fever” is remembered fondly in Washington, much more so, sadly, than the “You Da Man” videos.
Do you remember any of these songs? Am I missing any? What’s your favorite or least favorite team song? How badly do you want to kill me for getting these songs stuck in your head the rest of the day?
Baseball News: The Giants had a Metallica Day promotion yesterday, which featured, among other things, band members playing the national anthem through Giants-themed amps. ”¦ Pretty much the worst conceivable uni match-up yesterday in San Diego: purple vs. G.I. Joke (from Todd Radom). ”¦ Good story on the Des Moines ballpark that was the site of pro baseball’s first night game (from Chris Williams). ”¦ Indiana and Maryland went red vs. red yesterday. ”¦ Florida state wore their Sunday gold unis for yesterday’s loss to Coastal Carolina. According to this story, it was their first loss in the gold unis this season and only the second regular-season loss in them since 2011. ”¦ New uniforms for Oregon softball. ”¦ This is pretty cool: a vintage tequila sunrise polo shirt worn by an Astros staffer. ”¦ The Rangers stacked as many sunglasses as they could on Robinson Chirinos’s cap yesterday (thanks, Mike).
NFL News: “Former NFL DB Charlie Peprah was married over the weekend,” says Christopher Jones. “His cake featured a layer with the Ghanaian flag (his grandfather was the military president of Ghana in the 1970s), a layer with houndstooth and the Alabama ‘A’ (Peprah played college ball at ’Bama), a layer with the Packers ‘G,’ and a replica of the Lombardi Trophy (Peprah was the starting strong safety on the Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV).” ”¦ Just about died when Brinke sent me this photo of himself wearing the new BFBS Niners jersey. Fortunately, he didn’t buy one — he just put it on for that photo. ”¦ “There was a Mexican wrestling exhibition here in Seattle on Saturday,” says Scott M.X. Turner. “One of the villain luchadores in the final match dressed taunted the Seattle crowd by dressing as a 49er. The pants are impressive, though the paper white-colored faceguard on the mask was — well, never mind, it was Luchadore Grande!” ”¦ Love the endpaper artwork on this vintage NFL children’s book.
College Football News: Phil provided excellent coverage of the Colorado’s new uniforms on Saturday (scroll down). But one thing he didn’t mention was the reflective outlines on the uni numbers (from Kary Klismet). ”¦ Here’s a quiz on college football helmets. “I got 10 out of 10,” says Phil.
Hockey News: Cross-dressing alert: Chicago Cubs players showed support for the Blackhawks’ playoff push by wearing Blackhawks jerseys. ”¦ Speaking of the Blackhawks, goalie Corey Crawford’s mask was broken after he took a slapshot to the face last night, so he had to switch to an old mask. ”¦ And still more Blackhawks: Here’s how they feel about broken sticks (thanks, Mike).
NBA News: LeBron James has never given an explanation for why he stopped wearing a headband back in March. He now says it was so he wouldn’t stand out visually from his teammates. ”¦ Here’s another round of those clever NBA playoff cartoons (thanks, Mike).
Soccer News: Hartlepool United wore next season’s neon yellow away kit for their final game of this season. “The kit featured ‘The Great Escape’ embroidery, in honor of the club’s survival in League Two despite spending most of their time this season in the relegation zone,” says Callum Johnston. ”¦ Celtic FC will be unveiling their new kit today. It will be made by New Balance — a switch from Nike (from Trey Oswalt). ”¦ The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Carolina RailHawks went orange vs. yellow on Saturday (from @depinto).
Grab Bag: Bizarre situation regarding Air India in-flight uniforms that has to be seen/heard to be believed.