The first round of the NBA playoffs have been solidly entertaining, giving us a wide range of reasons to be excited every day. We’ve had the Russ experience, the Raptors almost Raptors-ing, the Spurs-Grizzlies showdown and numerous press conference moments to keep us engaged until the stakes get higher. Yet, there’s still one last ingredient missing from the postseason stew that can take these next couple months up to the next level, and that ingredient is Pitbull.
I don’t know about you or how you consume the NBA, but to me, the word “playoffs” conjures up one memory and one memory only. It’s not Ray Allen’s shot in Game 6. It’s not Kobe’s lob to Shaq against Portland. It’s not Robert Horry’s hip check. No, it’s the Pitbull remix of “Timber” in which the chorus is simply Pit saying the word “Playoffs” over and over again.
If you don’t remember what I’m talking about or simply want to go back to a better time, here’s the song that’s going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day:
Those 57 seconds are perfection. The hammy NBA references mixed into the song: “Team by team, round by round, end of the night it’s going down.” The NBA players who were clearly photoshopped into the video to make it appear as if they were dancing with Pitbull. ESPN choosing to use ROY HIBBERT as one of the players to hype us up. The seamless transition between Spanish and English. Pitbull’s wink at the camera. Why isn’t this still a thing?
The cheesy NBA songs have been a letdown so far this year. Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For Saturday Night” commercials were extremely average (at best.) Using Chance The Rapper’s “Blessings” was too easy because that song is actually good. The beauty of the Pitbull playoff intro was that A) you hated that song by the third game of the first round but B) you definitely still yelped “Playoffs!” in unison with Pitbull every time. Making it through that “Timber” remix before every big game was a rite of passage. It built character for the at-home NBA viewer.
On one hand, I’m happy ESPN didn’t try to connect with the younger audience by bringing in Lil Yachty or Takeoff to do an original song we all would have hated. (Although a hype song of Lil Uzi Vert just singing “Yah, yah, yah, yah” from “Bad and Boujee” would have potential.) On the other hand, these playoffs are sorely lacking an anthem. They are lacking a melodious tune we begrudgingly endure. They are lacking a hype video we can one day, many years from now, send our basketball-loving friends and say, “Remember when [Insert name here] was considered a playoff X-factor?”
So, Pit, if you are reading this, we need you back. Dale, amigo. The summer months aren’t the same without those funky horns and you saying “playoffs” so many times I begin to wonder if I’m actually part of a government experiment. (I can’t stress this enough. The first 20 seconds of the song are Pitbull repeating the phrase, “Playoffs. Playoffs. Turn up. Playoffs.”) For now, we may be enjoying what postseason basketball has had to offer. But while some people believe a series hasn’t started until the home team loses a game, I choose to believe the postseason hasn’t started until Pitbull is standing on a green-screen stage, arms outstretched, and you-know-which word behind him. Playoffs.