“The Greatest Rapper Of All Time Died On March 9th” | Biggie’s Influence On Sport Is Clear 25 Years Since His Passing

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“The greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th”

The Notorious BIG, better known as Biggie Smalls, was a rapping instruction manual for a lifestyle rooted in aspiration. The Brooklyn-born emcee spit tales of grandeur from the streets to the suites and everywhere in between.

He became the soundtrack to every blacktop basketball court and halfcourt games with dueling Big Poppa songs energizing the on-court competition.

“Either Your Slinging Crack Rock Or You Got A Wicked Jump Shot”
-The Notorious B.I.G.

Indelibly, as Biggie showed the world how to look and sound like a rapper, athletes began to attach to the lifestyle and its requisite soundtrack.

From the baggy meets flashy garb of none other than Allen Iverson to the baggy shorts popularized by Michael Jordan, the NBA and hip-hop culture are joined at the hip.

The plight of poverty has pushed young people to become athletes and entertainers faster than doctors and lawyers. The glamorization of being drafted and thriving in a sports organization or touring and spitting rhymes serves the same purpose: poverty elimination.

Moments In Time

Iconic moments like Jadakiss and Allen Iverson’s Reebok sneaker commercial are high-level cultural convergence moments. Shaquille O’Neal rapped with the Fu-Schnickens on his “What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock),” where he respected him in two games.

Shaq is the rare baller-meets-rapper with a song with Biggie. The two have a cult classic, “You Can’t Stop The Reign,” with the Loose Ends sample from a song of the same name.

That’s the thing: Biggie was so beloved when alive that he was a bucket list item for the superstar NBA center. Other athletes like Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant threw their respective hats in the recording industry ring and gave the world a glimpse into their off-court humanity.

“I Got A Story To Tell”

Art imitated life in Biggie’s classic song, “I Got A Story To Tell.” Recently on an episode of “Highly Questionable,” Fat Joe revealed that the victim in Biggie’s song “I Got A Story To Tell” was New York Knicks power forward Anthony Mason.

In the song, Biggie is enjoying intimacy in the home of a woman when he hears her NBA player boyfriend enter the house, and Biggie fakes a robbery to escape.

The worlds were a little too linked, but the story is now legend.

“Sky Is The Limit”

Sports and culture are far from the AND1 mixtape series and Def Jam video games. Now NFL players like Antonio Brown partner with entertainers like Kanye West, who influence their musical aspirations while opening a sports division together.

The last Super Bowl in SoFi Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams bested the Cincinnati Bengals, saw a hip-hop reverence paid to the impresario Dr. Dre and some of the most prominent artists he’s worked with.

When the NFL is having a racial reckoning, under the partnership with Jay-Z and Roc Nation, Dre was able to mimic his Los Angeles stomping grounds. Replete with lowrider cars, houses, and landmarks, Los Angeles street culture was created right in the middle of the 50-yard line.

On the 25th anniversary of Biggie’s death, reflect on the two-plus decades of hits and culture Biggie delivered.

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.