During an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal reveals that his bond with Biggie was deeper than Rap.
In a few days, many fans in the Hip Hop community will likely pay respects to the Notorious B.I.G., who was shot and killed on March 9, 1997. One such fan will probably be Boston Celtics center, Shaquille O’Neal, who not only recorded with B.I.G. but also counted the critically acclaimed emcee as a personal friend. During an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” O’Neal recalled that a then-budding Biggie drew his attention with the following line from the song, “Gimmie The Loot:”
“I’m slammin’ niggas like Shaquille / Shit is real / When it’s time to eat a meal / I’ll rob and steal…”
O’Neal would record with the Fu-Snickens, Fat Joe, Erick Sermon and dozens of other Hip Hop artists. Sean “Diddy” Combs said B.I.G. respected O’Neal’s rhyme skills enough to collaborate with him, as opposed to just recording a duet because O’Neal became his friend. The pair would go on to record “Can’t Stop the Reign,” from the platinum-selling 1996 album, You Can’t Stop the Reign.
After joining the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal had more run-ins with Biggie in California, but he told ESPN he’d always question the one night he didn’t hang out with him. O’Neal originally planned to party with Biggie the night the legendary emcee was murdered after partying at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
“I think that may have changed things,” Lil Cease added. “If Shaq had have said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna come with y’all.’ I’m sure him and B.I.G. would’ve rolled together. That’s the type of person B.I.G. was. If you’re hanging with him, he would’ve been like, ‘Alright, one of you other homeboys ride in the other car, I’m riding with Shaq.’ I’m sure Shaq would’ve had security, and I’m sure B.I.G. would’ve had another security come with him that day just to make sure Shaq was alright. So, definitely think if Shaq would’ve been there it would have changed.”