LL Cool J Reprises “Mama Said Knock You Out” as NBA Tournament Anthem

Friday night (November 3), the NBA began its inaugural In-Season Tournament. For the first time ever, the entire league will be competing for a trophy separate from its Finals trophy. And, to christen the new competition, the basketball league enlisted the help of some hip-hop legends.

Videos by American Songwriter

Prior to the first games of the competition, the NBA announced that LL Cool J’s 1991 smash hit “Mama Said Knock You Out” would be the official anthem of the In-Season Tournament. “[The song] will serve as the musical backdrop for the stages of the In-Season Tournament, starting with Group Play involving all 30 teams and progressing through the single-elimination Knockout Rounds, culminating in the Championship,” the league said in a press release.

On top of this, Cool J performed the song for a video promoting the tournament, joined by Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots. Before rapping his fiery first verse and chorus of the song, Cool J amped up viewers by defining the implications of the event.

Get ready for the NBA In-Season Tournament
Y’all know what time it is
30 teams on the court for the cup, but there can only be one No. 1
And the race for that chip is on

Additionally, in the aforementioned press release, Cool J spoke about how meaningful this moment is for him, considering he’s a lifelong follower of the sport.

“I’ve been a fan of the NBA ever since I can remember, and it’s a real honor to have my record serving as the anthem for this monumental moment,” he said. “I’m excited to see the energy of the song translate to the play on the court during the NBA In-Season Tournament.”

[RELATED: MC Lyte Defends President Biden after LL Cool J Name Slip-Up]

Earlier this year, Cool J performed “Mama Said Knock You Out” as part of the Hip-Hop 50 celebration for the MTV Video Music Awards. Alongside fellow rap legends like Lil Wayne, Chuck D, and Grandmaster Flash, Cool J reminded fans of how versatile and impactful the genre has been for the last 50 years. And judging by their song choice for their In-Season Tournament, the NBA surely took note.

Check out the promotional video below.

Photo: Youtube

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