Mixtape Origins

NBA Jam SessionIn 1993 NBA Entertainment released NBA Jam Session on VHS* and LaserDisc.

This video comprised packages of NBA highlights set to contemporary music (predominantly hip hop).

Following the success of this release, the NBA released similar tapes every few years, including NBA Grooves and NBA Live 2001 – The Music Videos.

These tapes/DVDs would be the source of inspiration for a generation of enthusiasts who would pioneer NBA mix making during the rise of the Interwebs.

In those early days, the works of KBlazeYinka DareProfeVincent Da, Sundazefosho, Maxamillion711H4L and MANY others provided NBA junkies with countless additional hours of entertainment beyond that offered by the Association and professional sports networks.

These “amateur” videos, some of which pre-date YouTube, often showcased the game in a rawer fashion and generally featured music that resonated with the tastes of the typical basketball fan.

Today you can spend considerable time scrolling through the big name Instagram accounts for tightly packaged, high quality 15 second highlight reels, a luxury that feels a lifetime removed from the days of waiting patiently for the next production to wind up on a forum in the form of a YouSendIt link.

But where did this all start? We certainly don’t have the conclusive answer, but here’s a “mix” from 1981 that features some good horn and the good Doctor.

Grover Washington Jr ft Dr J

It may just be the first true mixtape.

BONUS: We certainly borrowed this concept a few times…

* Some households may also have acquired the infamous Betamax bootleg.


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