2023 In-Season Tournament

LL COOL J and The Roots reimagine Grammy Award-winning Single ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ for NBA In-season Tournament anthem

Anthem to debut ahead of first NBA In-Season Tournament game and open every tournament night through the Championship on Dec. 9.

Introducing the NBA In-Season Tournament anthem

LL COOL J and The Roots reimagine Grammy-Award winning single ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ for NBA In-Season Tournament anthem.

NEW YORK — The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that LL COOL J, Grammy Award-winning hip-hop icon, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, actor, author and Founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, has collaborated with four-time Grammy Award-winning hip-hop act The Roots to reimagine the legendary song “Mama Said Knock You Out,” which will serve as the official anthem for the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

The anthem, a bespoke reprise of LL COOL J’s Grammy® Award-winning single, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” features the familiar hook from The Roots’ popular track “Here I Come.” The reimagined version combines the iconic lyrics of the 1991 hit “Mama Said You Knock You Out” with the energetic melody of “Here I Come.” It 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 spot pays homage to the classic VMA Award-winning music video while infusing it with a modern twist. It transforms LL COOL J’s presence from the boxing ring to the hardwood In-Season Tournament stage. This stage includes a tribute to the tournament’s coveted trophy, the NBA Cup, and features a live performance by The Roots.

“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,” said LL COOL J. “I’m excited to see the energy of the song translate to the play on the court during the NBA In-Season Tournament.”

The anthem will offer three distinct versions, each featuring wordplay from The Roots’ Black Thought that correspond to different segments of the tournament. The first version of the song will make its television debut tonight during opening night of the NBA In-Season Tournament on ESPN, and across all NBA social platforms and the NBA App. It will serve as the opening theme song for each night of the NBA In-Season Tournament, airing on ESPN, TNT, local telecasts and radio broadcasts.

LL COOL J and The Roots are set to conclude their U.S. tour, “The F.O.R.C.E Live,” on Nov. 19 at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

The NBA In-Season Tournament will tip off with Group Play tonight in NBA team markets. Each team will play four Group Play games on Tuesdays and Fridays in November. Eight teams will advance to the single-elimination Knockout Rounds, which consist of the Quarterfinals (Dec. 4 and 5) in team markets on TNT and the Semifinals (Dec. 7) on ESPN and TNT and Championship (Dec. 9) on ABC at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. More information about the In-Season Tournament is available here.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, two-time Grammy® Award-winning Hip-Hop icon, Kennedy Center Honoree, recording artist, actor, author, NAACP Image Award winner, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, LL COOL J has created one of the most multifaceted careers and brands in entertainment and continues to display his wide range of talents with every project. Three decades after he first burst onto the scene, LL COOL J continues his vibrant, trailblazing career. LL COOL J began in the nascent, burgeoning rap and Hip-Hop scene of the 80’s, which developed into the musical and cultural phenomenon that is today’s Hip-Hop. All the while, LL COOL J has remained a musical and cultural force, a living icon and a significant, relevant artist. In March 2018, LL launched his own SiriusXM timeless Hip-Hop channel entitled “LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio,” garnering millions of daily listeners. The channel features a wide range of timeless Hip-Hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated, programmed and presented by the award-winning artist. Since its founding, Rock The Bells has developed into a global platform that has become the preeminent voice for timeless Hip-Hop.

About The Roots
The legendary Roots Crew have become one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business, winning four GRAMMYS, including “Best R&B Album” for Wake Up!, “Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance” for “Hang in There” (with John Legend) and “Best Group or Duo R&B Vocal Performance” for “Shine.” This brings the band’s GRAMMY nomination count to twelve. Additionally, “The Roots Picnic,” a yearly star-studded mix of musicians, has become a celebrated institution. The Roots were named one of the greatest live bands around by Rolling Stone and serve as the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

About the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball.  Built around five professional sports leagues:  the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 214 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2023-24 season featured a record 125 international players from 40 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all leagues, team and player platforms.  NBA Cares, the NBA’s global social responsibility platform, partners with renowned community-based organizations around the world to address important social issues in the areas of education, inclusion, youth and family development, and health and wellness.