"It was like the streets kinda died."
The Undefeated recently ran an in-depth piece about the night 20 years ago today, March 9th, when Biggie was shot and killed in Los Angeles after leaving a party sponsored by Vibe Magazine.
Among the athletes who spoke with The Undefeated about where they were that night, Shaquille O'Neal, who was actually with Biggie earlier in the day and almost attended the party with him.
Shaq ultimately fell asleep before his ride to the party arrived but he still wonders what would've happened if he was there.
"I don’t say I could’ve prevented it," Shaq said. "I was just saying…if I was out there by the car, would they still have fired? That’s the only thing I would say to myself. I don’t wanna make it seem like I could’ve saved him. I don’t want to make it seem like if I was there, the shooters wouldn’t have shot. If I was there by the truck, after we all left and I’m dapping him up, would they still have shot?"
Shaq also addressed the mood in the weeks following Biggies murder, saying,
"You’d go to clubs and people weren’t really in there. It took me awhile to get to the clubs because I was saying to myself, ‘M—–f—–s is coming back.’ Somebody coming back to do something. I’d pick and choose where I went. It was definitely a somber mood, a bitter mood."
In 1997, Baron Davis was in high school but he still remembers how devastated up some of the NBA players were in the aftermath.
"It was a volatile time in L.A. anyway," he said. "I remember seeing a lot of the pro dudes…the next day or two and them crying about it. They was like, 'We was right there, man.' For me, just being in school and around, you hear rumblings in there streets. The streets talk."
Former Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel also recalled how he found out the tragic news.
"We had a game that night," he said. "I decided to stay in. It’s crazy because I was a big Biggie fan and my boy, my college teammate—who was my teammate with the Lakers—Corie Blount, was a Tupac fan. That night it happened, they came to my house, it had to be like 3 something in the morning. They were like, 'Man, they got ya boy. They got ya boy.' I’m like, 'Who?' They were like, 'Man, they shot Biggie.'"
"It was like the streets kinda died. It was like all the wind had been let out of L.A. The whole city was depressed. A lot of people felt the same way I did. How could we be responsible?"
You can check out The Undefeated's full piece right here.