LL Cool J x The Roots | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

LL Cool J x The Roots - In-Season Tournament Anthem


The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Use of Culture
  • Music or Entertainment



In an effort to highlight the significance of the In-Season Tournament and differentiate these games from traditional regular season matchups , we commissioned two legendary hip hop acts in LL Cool J and The Roots to create the In-Season Tournament Anthem - a 2023 twist on LL Cool J’s classic “Mama Said Knock You Out” and The Roots’ hit “Here I Come”. The Anthem and associated music video tipped off every In-Season Tournament broadcast both nationally and locally and was used by broadcast partners throughout the tournament within their overall presentations. Broadcasters had the opportunity to tailor the video to be team specific as well as matchup specific while keeping the common thread of The Anthem throughout.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The NBA unveiled its very own theme song, adding a whole new layer of excitement to the basketball experience for the inaugural In-Season Tournament. Unlike before, this catchy anthem isn't exclusive to a single TV channel – it's become the signature sound across the entire league, creating a shared experience for fans everywhere. So, whether you're watching on ESPN, TNT, or any other network, that familiar tune unites fans in anticipation. It's a game-changer, setting the stage for a future where this musical identity might become the norm across platforms. The NBA has essentially given its games a soundtrack that transcends channels, making the whole experience more immersive and harmonious. The additional viewership across social platforms surpassed averages, notably the 2.4 million video views on @NBA Instagram surpassed benchmarks by over 30%.


With the league introducing a new platform, it was imperative to create awareness, chatter and excitement around the In-Season Tournament and make games distinguishable from the rest of the regular season. Enter, LL Cool J and The Roots. Both iconic Grammy Award winning pillars of the music industry, they took a classic hip-hop anthem in “Mama Said Knock You Out” and introduced it to a new generation with an NBA twist, lending a soundtrack to the games.

Strategy & Execution

Sports fans gravitate towards high stakes action and elite competition. The In-Season Tournament platform was designed to engage the NBA fans, generate excitement during the early portion of the regular season, and add a new layer of significance to those games. The In-Season Tournament Anthem underscores the knockout format and importance of each game. This Anthem was featured in conjunction with 69 games, on 30 regional sports networks, 3 national broadcasters and was available on NBA League Pass domestically and globally across 196 countries. The In-Season Tournament Anthem was published across @nba X, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, as well as the NBA App and NBA.com. Extensions of the Anthem to further engage fans and raise awareness for In-Season Tournament include behind-the-scenes access of the Anthem, and hype videos of key matchups and the knockout rounds of the In-Season Tournament.


  • NBA
  • PrettyBird Co.
  • ReCreate
  • Eastbeach Productions
  • WBD Sports
  • ESPN


child. .
PrettyBird Co.

Candice Dragonas
Executive Producer
PrettyBird Co.

Tracy Hauser
Director of Production
PrettyBird Co.

Amanda Leya Andrews
PrettyBird Co.

Adam Blackstone
Musical Direction
PrettyBird Co.

Carlton Myers
Head of Live Production

Rudy Crew
Creative Producer

Amanda Back

Megan Bailey
Line Producer

India El
Talent Management

Charlie Rosenzweig
Talent Legal

Jake Freeman
Social Content - Content Planning

Adam Fedorko
Social and Digital Content Creation Lead

Leah Berry
Social and Digital Content Creation Management

James Johnson
Senior Editor

Melina Matsoukas
CEO/Founder DLR
PrettyBird Co.

Matthew Lloyd
Director of Photography
PrettyBird Co.

Spencer Graves
Production Designer
PrettyBird Co.

Bob Carney
Senior Vice President, Social and Digital Content

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.