“Basketball Jones (feat. Tyrone Shoelaces)” by Cheech and Chong (1973)

Sure, “Basketball Jones” is a comedy record. It’s an incredibly dated, novelty comedy record. If you’re under 30, you very likely know who Cheech & Chong are (marijuana icons are forever), but you probably don’t know “Basketball Jones”, or the record it parodies, or the icons it references (Bill Russell & Chick Hearn, for starters.)

But I love comedy. And I love basketball. And I love ‘70s soul. So, as a comedy record that’s a parody of a ‘70s soul classic, “Basketball Jones” is nothing but net. I actually enjoy Cheech & Chong’s “Basketball Jones” more than I enjoy the record it parodies, The Brighter Side of Darkness’s overwrought “Love Jones”.

The key to Cheech & Chong’s success (similar to Adam Sandler’s two decades later) in the music realm is that at least one of them was an actual musician. Tommy Chong was a member of Motown group Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, a feat that ties him peripherally into the King of Pop’s orbit. Bobby Taylor is the guy who brought The Jackson 5 to Motown. Hard to picture MJ and Cheech & Chong operating in the same orbit, but…there you go.

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