"Basketball is like jazz." So says Michael Scott of NBC's The Office—and he's not wrong! The comparison has been made by everyone from basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Jazz at Lincoln Center's own Wynton Marsalis. In honor of the release of Rock Chalk Suite, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's love letter to basketball, we've rounded up some of our favorite "jazz-ketball" crossover moments.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "jazz-like quality" on the court
The NBA legend has said that both jazz and basketball require players to “work within a tight structure of time, space and rules." He says, "I find that the rules can be liberating rather than confining.”
2. Wynton Marsalis's 90's NBA Commercials
Five people on a basketball team, five people in a jazz quintet—coincidence?
3. Wynton Marsalis compares life on the bandstand to life on the hardcourt
Marsalis has said that both basketball and jazz “reward improvisation and split-second decision making against the pressure of time.”
4. The Office's pick-up game
Michael Scott may be better at philosophizing about basketball than actually playing it.