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EMPIRE, ESPN Partner for NBA Music Programming

Money Man and D Smoke will provide music for the network's basketball telecasts.

ESPN is partnering with indie multi-hyphenate music company EMPIRE for a slate of original music and video programming for the ongoing NBA season, the companies announced today (Dec. 16).

As part of the partnership, two EMPIRE artists will be initially releasing songs that will be used during NBA programming on ESPN: Money Man, whose song “Tip Off” will — you guessed it — serve as the official NBA Tip-Off 2021 track for games on the network; and D Smoke, nominated for two Grammys in 2021, whose basketball-themed “Say Go” remix will also premiere on broadcasts.

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According to EMPIRE, the two tracks are just the beginning of a partnership that will grow to include more of the company’s artists during the course of the season, which runs through April, including an additional track by Money Man and Yung Bleu called “Fans Go Crazy” that will debut on the NBA’s Christmas broadcasts.

The partnership will also include in-person fan activations in several cities, including one involving Money Man and Bleu in Los Angeles and one involving Fat Joe in Manhattan in the week leading up to Christmas.

It’s the latest music partnership for ESPN, while the NBA has linked up with UnitedMasters in 2018 to provide a soundtrack of original music for its digital channels and partnered with the likes of Timbaland, Joey Bada$$, Migos and more on various original music initiatives in recent years.