"One Shining Moment" is a song written by David Barrett about the NCAA Men's College Basketball Championship. One Shining Moment is traditionally played at the end of CBS Sports' coverage of the championship game of the tournament. The song is played as the winning team's players cut down the nets, to a montage of highlights from the tournament.

Notable artistsEdit

Barrett was the original artist (1987-1993, 2000-2002), but CBS has also broadcast remakes by Teddy Pendergrass (1994–1999) and Luther Vandross (2003–2009, 2011–). It is believed to be the last song Vandross recorded before his stroke and subsequent death.[citation needed] A version by Jennifer Hudson was used for the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The format of the Hudson video deviated from prior years by cutting away from the tournament highlight montage on several occasions to show footage of Hudson singing with a recording studio backdrop, drawing criticism from some fans and viewers.[1][2][3][4] On March 29, 2011, CBS announced that they would be reinstating[5][6] the Luther Vandross version for at least the 2011 Tournament.


Barrett, a singer/songwriter from Michigan, wrote the song after seeing Larry Bird star for Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA tournament. In 1986, he passed the song along to high school friend Armen Keteyian, an investigative journalist for CBS Sports and, at that time, Sports Illustrated, who in turn passed it to CBS Sports Creative Director Doug Towey. However, Towey originally planned to debut the song not after a basketball game, but after a football game, Super Bowl XXI. It was to have been the postgame montage from that contest, but CBS ran past the expected airtime and had a primetime show to debut in the next time slot, so the montage was canceled. CBS then asked Barrett for use of the song after the 1987 NCAA championship game, in which Indiana beat Syracuse. Towey decided to use "One Shining Moment" to close CBS' coverage of the Tournament. The positive public response led to it becoming an annual feature. It has been used to end CBS' coverage ever since.

Doug Towey died on March 11, 2009 and was remembered with a tribute on CBS.


The first verse is about inspiration and hard work. The second verse deals with adversity, accompanied by highlights of injured players and missed shots. The bridge includes lines such as "Feel the beat of your heart", often shown with players thumping their chests, and "Feel the wind in your face", with video of drives towards the basket.[7]

There is a claim that the first line in the song was changed from "The ball is kicked" to "The ball is tipped." However, Barrett said[citation needed] "My daughter informed me that they claim that the initial line was the ball is kicked. That's not the case. It never was. The original line was, the gun goes off...which I changed to suit the tournament. Ironically - I wrote the song about basketball (after watching Larry Bird) but for some reason (who knows what I was thinking?!?) I didn't write it into the original first line. And so having the first line fall into place as it did was poetic and true."

The Chicago White Sox used the version with "The Gun Goes Off" to close their telecast on the final game at Comiskey Park on September 30th, 1990.[citation needed]


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