The Brooklyn Nets won’t be hanging any championship banners in the near future for NBA excellence, but the borough has a long line of musical artists who have world championship billing.
On Sunday afternoon, a new banner hung from the rafters of Brooklyn’s Barclays center in honor of the late Notorious B.I.G., the iconic Brooklyn rapper who was murdered in Los Angeles 20 years ago on March 9th.
The banner was laced with a big “72,” in honor of the year the rap phenomenon was born, and featured one of his most memorable hip-hop quotables on the bottom: “Spread love it’s the Brooklyn way.”
The moment was another example of the one thing the Nets franchise has grasped since coming to Brooklyn and promising success, yet finding a world of losing; the deep connection between, Brooklyn, Hip-Hop and basketball. From their early association with Jay-Z as a minority owner to this latest tribute to a '90s rap god, the Nets stay true to their fan base and have always respected Hip-Hop culture and its intricacies concerning subject matter and language.
On Sunday, the Nets celebrated B.I.G’s banner by stopping a 16-game home losing streak with the best slump-buster ever -- a game against the New York Knicks, a team that has 10 wins and 31 losses since December 11th. With New York totally in the house, the Nets’ 120-112 win over Phil Jackson’s band of broken ballers was branded as “Biggie Night.”
The team honored his family and played his classic joints throughout the game. At halftime, with Biggie’s mom, P. Diddy and Lil' Kim looking on, the Nets raised his banner to the sky. The franchise is also planning to renovate the gym at the Brooklyn middle school that Biggie attended.
This move by the Nets totally connects them to the legacy of Brooklyn’s Frank White and immortalizes Biggie in NY’s historically intertwining world of sports, Hip-Hop and entertainment. His legend is sure to grow behind this, and is rightfully preserved regally in the town in which he made his mark.