Shaquille O’Neal’s B.I.G. shock
By Inside Track
Friday, March 4, 2011 - Added 16 hours ago
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E-mail Print (6) Comments Text size Share Buzz up!Celtics big guy Shaquille O’Neal remembers the night Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down and tells ESPN that if he had been with his pal Christopher Wallace as planned, Biggie might still be with us.
“I’ve always been a person that’s always been aware of my surroundings,” Shaq tells ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez. “Thank God for Uncle Jerome from law enforcement. He sees everything. He sees everything. He taught me that. He’s always taught me that.”
Uncle Jerome is not really Shaq’s uncle. He’s a former Newark Police officer who is No. 36’s security muscle and presumably would have been with O’Neal on the night of Biggie’s murder. Because Shaq was on his way to meet the rapper at an after-party for the Soul Train Music Awards.
“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,” he said.
But Shaq never made it, and shortly after midnight on March 9, 1997, a car pulled alongside the SUV Biggie was in as he left the party. Wallace was shot repeatedly and died a short time later at a local hospital.
“I just fell asleep. I woke up about 4 o’clock from a call from my mother,” Shaq recalled. “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 killed.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ So then I hung up with her and called some people and they told me what had happened.”
O’Neal and Biggie met in 1993 when the then- Orlando Magic superstar invited the rapper to record a song for an album Shaq was making. P. Diddy said it was a shock when his pal said yes.
“Biggie didn’t really do records with anybody that he didn’t respect musically. He wouldn’t do something just to be nice,” Diddy tells ESPN. “When he heard the Shaq record he thought it was fire. Basically they had a kind of big man camaraderie.”
You can check out both Diddy’s and Shaq’s interviews on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” at 9 a.m. Sunday and on “SportsCenter” at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday