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Shaquille O'Neal Reveals Details Of His Friendship With Biggie Smalls: How They Met, Recorded A Song And Almost Attended The Party Where Biggie Was Shot

Shaquille O'Neal Reveals Details Of His Friendship With Biggie Smalls: How They Met, Recorded A Song And Almost Attended The Party Where Biggie Was Shot

Shaquille O'Neal wasn't only one of the most dominant players in NBA history, but also a multi-faceted person that didn't hesitate to try new things and achieve plenty of goals on and off the court. 

The Big Diesel is a police officer, movie actor, Wrestler, Doctor, TV analyst, and more, but one of his first 'side gigs' came in the 90s, where he decided to pursue a rap career, entering a world that welcomed him with open arms. 

Shaq found big collaborators along the way, including New York legend Biggie Smalls. Also known as The Notorious B.I.G. or simply Biggie, Christopher Wallace lived a short but rich life, full of success in the Hip Hop world. Once big friends with another late rapper, Tupac Shakur, Biggie became one of the most influential of all time. 

He amassed a big number of fans that included O'Neal, who wanted to make some tunes with him. Shaq has discussed on several occasions how he got to meet Biggie and created their following friendship. He said in a 2011 interview with ESPN (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet):

“The first time I heard Biggie Smalls was he said my name in a rap,” he recalled. “[He] said, ‘I’m slamming brothers like Shaquille, s— is real.'”

“Instantly, I became a fan,” he admitted. “When I’d seen him, I saw that he was a big guy. And you know, it’s a unwritten rule that all big guys stick together.”

“My concept was always to rap with my favorite rappers,” he said honestly. “I put out a call to him and asked him if he would do a song with me.”

“Biggie and I had a little history. I flew him and his whole crew out to my house a few years ago. We hung out. We’d talk about a few things. We both had people in our professions who were jealous of us and wanted to take us down, so he wanted to know how I dealt with those kind of people. “How do I handle the haters?” he asked me. I said, “Don’t even worry about it. When you’re the best, some people are gonna like you, some people are gonna hate you. Worry about what you do. Make your money and take care of your family.”

Shaq had the opportunity to see that Wallace didn't need too much time to get things going and brought the fire to the “You Can’t Stop the Reign" single. The 4x NBA champion describes that seeing Biggie work so easily made him realize he was in front of a total legend.

“He was an amazing rapper. I need to hear the beat, go into a room, and write something. Biggie could just hear the beat. No pencil, no paper. He’d just sit there and go, “All right, I’m ready.” Then he went into my recording studio said some crazy stuff. I couldn’t put what he said on my album at the time, it was so hot. Real hot. That was one cold cat.”

Shaq even details that he was supposed to attend the party where Biggie was killed. In his book Shaq Talks Back, O'Neal discusses what happened that tragic night of 1997: 

“Biggie Smalls (aka The Notorious B.I.G.) was one of my favorite rappers. I saw him three days before he was murdered and actually was supposed to go to the party he was killed at.”

They became so close that Shaq was expected to attend the party where Biggie was shot 25 years ago. On March 9, 1997, the rapper and the NBA star were supposed to attend a Soul Train Awards after-party. O'Neal couldn't make it since he fell asleep and woke up at 4 am. Little did he know that when he woke up, his mother would give him the terrible news. 

"I was in my condo. I had on a cold white suit, white hat and all that. I was on my way. I was dressed. Ready to go," O'Neal said, via Bleacher Report.

"I just fell asleep. I woke up about 4 o'clock from a call from my mother," Shaq said. "She said 'Did you go to the party?' I'm like, 'No, what're you talking about?' She said, 'You know, your friend was shot.' And I was like, 'What?' So then I hung up with her and called some people and they told me what had happened."

The former Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat player knows he was a lucky one for working with Biggie and actually getting to know him on a personal level. Wallace will never be forgotten, especially with all the stories his friends often share. 

“I just think I was fortunate enough to say that I knew him, fortunate enough to say that he blessed me with 32 bars on my album, and I’m blessed enough to say that he knew me and I knew him,” he concluded. “So I don’t really think about the bad [times]. I just think about the good times. And he is the greatest now. Even now, when I listen to his verses on different beats, it still sounds like he’s still here.”

The relationship between these two evolved from a professional thing into a friendship. Shaq and Biggie had to deal with the same things in their respective careers and they found support in each other. Sadly, somebody with so much left to live was taken away from this world because of a meaningless war. He left plenty of materials that fans can enjoy know, and these memories from Shaq also help people learn a little bit more about one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Long live Biggie!