Animation and sports. I don’t think folks realize the importance of one on the other, especially in the television broadcast world. But let’s be real, many times the intro animations set-up the game. And a great set-up can be the difference from a good game and a great game.
In my humble opinion, the hands down greatest animated intro was the NBA on NBC from 1990 – 2002. Check out out their intro to the 1998 NBA Finals:
From the highlighting of the NBC logo, to the sliding NBA logo, all the way to brushed aluminum background, the animation for this sequence was beautifully done (I wish I knew who the designers and animators were). And to this day, no intro from the other networks (NBA on ESPN, NBA on TNT, MLB on FOX, NFL on FOX, NFL on CBS, NFL on NBC, etc…) has given me that WOW factor.
It isn’t all about the animation though (blasphemy, this is an animation blog..), what really makes the NBA on NBC’s intro shine is the sum of all the parts: the Bob Costas voiceover, the montage of previous games’ (heavily filtered) highlight clips, and of course the best network sports theme ever, “Roundball Rock” and it was composed by John Tesh of all people. The best example of the complete intro was game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. Check it out:
Alright, the real reason I’m reminiscing is because football season is officially over. The Mariners don’t play an actual game until April (Spring Training does not count and by all accounts the Mariners are going to suck this year). And the Seattle Supersonics are no longer here (no comment), so there is no NBA for Seattle…
But we do have this:
Once again, greatest animated sports intro…EVER!
PS: Enough time has passed, we can officially add Delonte West and Danny Fortson to the list of obscure Seattle Sonic players…
EDIT 2/11/09: BOO on youtube user TRJ22487, who has disabled the embed feature on the Bulls vs. Suns, and Bulls vs. Sonics intro videos. It’s all good though, just double click on the videos to get directly to the youtube feed.
EDIT 2/13/09: THANK YOU BILL SIMMONS! Thanks to the sports guy, Bill Simmons, from ESPN.com, for introducing me to this clip of John Tesh performing “Roundball Rock” LIVE! The set-up is classic, John Tesh humming the theme on his answering machine, and it ends with some sick violin vs. guitar action. YOU READ RIGHT!