With the NBA lockout dragging on with no end in sight, let us return to a happier hoops era. The year was 1984, and Kurtis Blow decided to gift us with one of the first rap songs I ever heard. Yes, boys and girls, they're playing "Basketball", because we love that "Basketball".
It's sort of important to qualify that this song is from 1984. How could Kurtis Blow have known that one of the biggest stars in basketball history was only just entering the NBA that year? Yeah, Michael Jordan is conspicuous by his absence, especially considering players like Nate "Tiny" Archibald and Bernard King get name-checked. Not a knock on those guys, but they are nowhere nearly as well-known as Jordan. For that matter, how could Kurtis have known that Ralph Sampson was about to become second fiddle on the Houston Rockets to an even better big man named Hakeem Olajuwon?
I don't know why, but it never occurred to me until recently to wonder if there was a video for this song. Well, as it turns out, there is:
...I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, to be honest. I suppose I pictured it with more still photos highlighting the people and events celebrated in the song. There is some of that, but I would have guessed more.
The cheerleaders miming to the background vocals make sense. The crotchety-looking announcer guy does, too. I don't know why I needed a big chicken or a fat guy with a hot dog, but fine - mascots and fans are part of the game. And there's both a pick-up game and a (pretend) "organized" game. All of that is logical.
But why is there martial arts going on in a music video about basketball?