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The 25 biggest NBA arena anthems of all time

If you go to any major team sport event, you’re going to hear music. Some sports feature more than others. Baseball, for example, has walk-up music for all the hitters on the home team and every pitcher out of the bullpen. The NBA features a ton of music as well. It’s the one sport of the “Big Four” leagues that plays music during in-game action. That means there are quite a few songs that have gotten a lot of air time over the years. Here are the 25 biggest NBA anthems of all time.

 
1 of 25

“The Final Countdown”

“The Final Countdown”
Francesco Castaldo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Whether it’s a basketball game or a Gob Bluth magic performance, you are likely to hear the opening strains of Europe’s “The Final Countdown.” It’s infectious and catchy, not to mention full of energy. “The Final Countdown” is also great for the last moments before a game begins or at the end of a game as well.

 
2 of 25

“We Will Rock You”

“We Will Rock You”
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Stomp, stomp, clap. Stomp, stomp, clap. For decades, Queen’s anthem has been booming at sporting events. It’s such a simple song but a great one. Fans also love to sing along to the chorus, which is right there in the title of “We Will Rock You.”

 
3 of 25

“Cha Cha Slide”

“Cha Cha Slide”
Angela Weiss/WireImage

Even if you’re watching at home, you’ve heard the “Cha Cha Slide” by DJ Casper. You’ll know it from just one line you’ve heard ad naseum, even during games: “Everybody clap your hands!” And then everybody starts clapping along with the beat. It seems like it may be law for every basketball arena to play this song at least once a game.

 
4 of 25

“Welcome to the Jungle”

“Welcome to the Jungle”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

Normally, they don’t get too deep into Guns N’ Roses’ biggest song (Sorry, “November Rain”). That’s because it’s Slash’s opening riff that most stadium DJs are interested in. You’ve heard it dozens of times. The opening salvo of “Welcome to the Jungle” basically goes hand-in-hand with the moments before a tipoff.

 
5 of 25

“Kernkraft 400”

“Kernkraft 400”
Annabel Staff/Redferns

You probably don’t recognize the name of this song or the name of the artist, Zombie Nation. However, if you’ve been to an NBA game, you’ve heard this song, a remix of a tune from a Commodore 64 game. You’ve chanted along with it. You’ve delivered the “Ohs” along with the beat of “Kernkraft 400.” Give it a listen, and you will immediately know it.

 
6 of 25

“Seven Nation Army”

“Seven Nation Army”
Tabatha Fireman/Redferns

The White Stripes weren’t trying to create an arena anthem. Yet, they did it anyway. Between the thudding baseline and the propulsive energy, sports fans can’t get enough of it. They also love chanting along with it as well, picking up the energy even more.

 
7 of 25

“Don’t Stop Believin’”

“Don’t Stop Believin’”
Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Maybe your team is up at the end of the game or maybe a little behind. Maybe you’re just a city boy born and raised in South Detroit (not a real place, but we won’t quibble). No matter what, you’ve heard Journey’s classic anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” at least once at an NBA game.

 
8 of 25

“Jump Around”

“Jump Around”
Mick Hutson/Redferns

If you put the word “jump” in a song’s chorus, there’s a decent chance it will end up getting played at a basketball game. Take, for example, Kriss Kross’ “Jump,” which could have made the cut too. However, we’ll go with House of Pain’s “Jump Around” as the official “jump” song, mostly because it has more energy to it.

 
9 of 25

“Crazy Train”

“Crazy Train”
Chris Walter/WireImage

Ozzy Osbourne is more than that guy from a reality show that aired before some players currently in the NBA were even cognizant. We’re getting old. There is a ton of energy in “Crazy Train,” and a lot of times the whole point of playing a song at a sporting event is to get fans pumped. Black Sabbath’s “Crazy Train” is great for that.

 
10 of 25

“Get Ready For This”

“Get Ready For This”
Michel Linssen/Redferns

This one was huge in the ‘90s. You don’t hear it much anymore, but this is an all-time list, remember. The frequency with which we heard 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This” back in the day still gets it a spot. If you need a reason, or your memory jogged, we have one sentence for you: “Ya’ll ready for this?”

 
11 of 25

“Lose Yourself”

“Lose Yourself”
Hayley Madden/Redferns

It’s not just Detroit where you can hear Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” It’s a song about leaving it all on the line...about having just one shot. In basketball, at the end of a game, that can be taken literally. Or you can play it before any big shot. It works regardless.

 
12 of 25

“Sirius”

“Sirius”
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

This is really just about one team. The Alan Parsons Project’s song is synonymous with the Chicago Bulls. It was used when the Bulls were being introduced in the ‘90s. It was the song Michael Jordan was introduced to over and over. When you think of the Bulls, you think of the strains of “Sirius.” That gets it on the list.

 
13 of 25

“Whoomp! (There It Is!)”

“Whoomp! (There It Is!)”
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

This should be one stuck in the ‘90s. Tag Team, and “Whoomp! (There It Is!)” just scream the ‘90s. However, apparently people still have nostalgia for it. We can understand that. It’s a goofy song, but it’s also a banger.

 
14 of 25

“Thunderstruck”

“Thunderstruck”
Brian Rasic/Getty Images

This one is played by Oklahoma City a lot, what with the fact the word “thunder” is sung over and over. However, as we say that, you may recall hearing it in your own arena as well. In addition to having a ton of energy, and an iconic guitar riff, it has a bit of a sing-a-long quality to it.

 
15 of 25

“Sandstorm”

“Sandstorm”
Gonzales Photo/Christer Haavarst/PYMCA-Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There was a time when this song was played all the time. It was made for sporting events, given that it is bursting with energy and has a catchy hook. You can still hear Darude’s synth rock instrumental song on occasion though. When you don’t have to worry about words, you can just groove to the music.

 
16 of 25

“Macarena”

“Macarena”
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Yeah, we know. “Macarena” is old hat. However, we cannot deny that period of time when it was truly ubiquitous. At any sporting event that happened, it was played. People did the dance. It was a huge fad. It was maybe the biggest fad song in sports arena history. That has to earn it a spot, dumb dance and all.

 
17 of 25

“Power”

“Power”
Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Mostly just the beginning of Kanye West’s hit song is played. That’s all you need though. When your team needs a defensive stand, even during play, if they don’t want to bust out the “de-fense” song, they may just bust out “Power.” It has the same effect, plus it leads to a lot of clapping.

 
18 of 25

“Apache”

“Apache”
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hey, a Sugarhill Gang song that isn’t “Rapper’s Delight!” You may not know this one by name, but you’ve heard it and probably danced to it. Do the words “Jump on it!” ring a bell? Of course they do, and you now have that tune stuck in your head.

 
19 of 25

“Remember the Name”

“Remember the Name”
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

A new song was needed to play during player introductions, and Fort Minor provided people with one. You won’t hear this one at home necessarily, unless they are showing player intros, which only seems to happen in the playoffs. However, if you are at the game, odds are you hear “Remember the Name” and maybe quite often.

 
20 of 25

“Pump Up the Jam”

“Pump Up the Jam”
Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

NBA arena DJs are often looking for, well, a jam to get people pumped up. Technotronic’s one-hit from 1989 basically ushered in the era of the ‘90s jock jams. You could argue it was the first one to truly pump up the jams. And many more jams followed.

 
21 of 25

“In the Air Tonight”

“In the Air Tonight”
Impressions/Getty Images

There’s one specific part of this song that has led to it being an in-arena staple. Phil Collins’ classic song is mostly quiet and contemplative. Then the drums hit. They are pounding and gripping. At that point, it becomes a different song and one that gets played at NBA games.

 
22 of 25

“Timber”

“Timber”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

This was an easy call. After all, Pitbull and Kesha did a version literally for the NBA playoffs. They put the word “playoffs” right in their remix. We were hearing it on TV constantly. It also definitely got some play in arenas. Maybe the time of “Timber” has come and gone, but it had its period of ubiquity.

 
23 of 25

“You Dropped a Bomb On Me”

“You Dropped a Bomb On Me”
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This one specifically gets a lot of play at NBA games. Let’s say the home team just hit a big three. The opponent has called a time out. What is cued up to celebrate and keep the crowd hyped? The Gap Band’s classic song, “You Dropped a Bomb on Me.”

 
24 of 25

“I Can’t Stop”

“I Can’t Stop”
Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Dubstep has become increasingly a part of the NBA arena landscape. It’s those big drops! Flux Pavilion’s “I Can’t Stop” is one of those songs. Since it came out in 2010, it’s had a role in NBA arenas. Dubstep may not be your thing, but you don’t have to listen to a whole song. You just have to vibe with a quick groove, and maybe a big drop.

 
25 of 25

“Y.M.C.A.”

“Y.M.C.A.”
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Let’s end with a classic. It’s basically the “Macarena” with legs. People have been dancing to “Y.M.C.A.” in arenas for decades. It always gets fans on their feet. The Village People’s song is undeniable. When you are talking about iconic in-arena songs for the NBA, you are going to picture fans making their arms into a makeshift “Y.”

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.



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