John Tesh Discusses His Career And The Song That Set Him Up For Life

Photo: Getty Images North America

If you are a diehard sports fan who remembers NBC’s coverage of the NBA in the 1990’s, then “Roundball Rock” is very much a staple of your memories. It is perhaps better known as “The ‘NBA on NBC’ Theme Song,” and it set the stage for the epic hoops broadcast of the day. What you may not know, however, is that the song was composed by John Tesh. Yes, that John Tesh, who has worn many hats in his career as a broadcaster, musician and reporter, but is perhaps best known for his years hosting the TV tabloid program “Entertainment Tonight.”

NBC last aired an NBA game in 2002, but with the rumor mill churning the possibility that NBC might reacquire the TV broadcast rights to the league, the song may now become familiar to a new generation of basketball fans. Tesh appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to discuss the life-changing anthem, starting with the phone call to himself that launched the song.

“I got an idea in the middle of the night,” Tesh recalled for Berman and Riedel. “I was in France, and I called my answering machine in New York and left a message for myself and it was… ‘beep- duh-duh-DUH-DUH-duh-DUH-de-DUH’. It hung up on me, so I called back and said, ‘Here’s the rest.’ And it was just that simple, and when I came back, I figured it out on the piano. I hired a small orchestra. I sent a cassette tape to [NBC Sports President] Dick Ebersol, and he called me up and he said, ‘Hey, John, this is Dick Ebersol. You wrote this theme?’ And I said, ‘Yes, Dick’, and he said, ‘Well this will work- let us play it for ten years and put two of your kids through college’.”

The versatile Tesh, who worked alongside Len Berman for a few years at WCBS-TV, says the experience in TV news made his career more well-rounded. “Back in the day you had to do everything, you know. You had to edit your own film. We shot film at WCBS for news film. You had to learn how to edit that. You had to learn how to write the scripts. A lot of time you would take a camera out yourself- and those cameras were size of a small Fiat car. And so, it was, you ended up with so many different skills that it prepared you more efficiently for other parts of your life, basically.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content