“Basketball Jones” was a song/routine/character from Cheech and Chong’s 1973 Los Cochinos (“The Pigs”) record. The original album cover had a secret compartment where you could see how they smuggled pot, sandwiched in their car door. I bought this LP at a garage sale when I was about ten and just starting to get into comedy albums. I only half understood the idea of “drugs” at the time, I’m pretty sure, so I can’t imagine a Cheech and Chong album made much sense to me at that age. But I loved the routine “Basketball Jones” by Tyrone Shoelaces & Rap Brown Jr. H.S.” and would go around singing the musical part of it like ten-year-olds do.
The song is about teenager Tyrone (as in “tie your own”) Shoelaces and his love of basketball sung in a falsetto voice by Cheech Marin. It’s catchy as hell, but small wonder, dig the backing band: George Harrison, Klaus Voorman, Carole King, Nicky Hopkins, Tom Scott, Billy Preston, Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and Michelle Phillips. The animation is by Paul Gruwell and was made in 1974.
This cartoon has also made some impressive Hollywood cameos over the years, in Robert Altman’s California Split, Hal Ashby’s Being There and in the 70s underground comedy Tunnel Vision. It was also parodied in a 2011 episode of The Simpsons (”A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”).