Cliff Dixon, the ex-boyfriend of Erica Mena and close friend of Kevin Durant’s, was shot and killed outside of a nightclub in a strip mall on the outskirts of Atlanta on March 21. Dixon had been out celebrating his birthday when the shooting occurred. He was 32 years old, his birthday came four days before his death.
Dixon’s tragic passing was confirmed in an Instagram post from rapper Dave East. East wrote in tribute to his slain friend, “Rest in heavenly peace bro u ain’t deserve whatever happen to u.” East added that he couldn’t think of many memories without his friend, noting the pair had been friends since they were 16 or 17. Golden State Warriors’ star Kevin Durant is also tagged in the post.
Some have referred to Dixon as being Durant’s “adopted brother.” A feature on Durant from 2014, just as the power forward was being awarded the league’s MVP award, says that Wanda Pratt took Dixon in when the pair were 16. Durant told the Oklahoman at the time, about Dixon, and another friend, Randy Williams, “They did their part in just making this thing roll. Because it’s tough living in this lifestyle, playing in the NBA, traveling so much, having a lot of money. It’s tough to really grasp at a young age. And they helped me out with it since Day One.”
Dixon is survived by a son, whom he referred to as his “whole life” in a June 2019 Instagram post.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dixon Had Been Promoting His Birthday Party at SL Lounge All Week Prior to His Death
Fox Atlanta reports that Dixon was killed in the parking lot of the Little Saigon strip mall in Chamblee, Georgia, 15 miles north of Atlanta, at around 1 a.m. on March 21. The mall is located along Buford Highway. The report initially described the victim as being in his late twenties to early thirties. Dixon was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
TMZ reports that Dixon was shot by a lone gunman who was clad in all-black. That gunman escaped from a police patrol that was nearby, the gossip site says. It’s not clear if Dixon was targeted in the attack, nor is it clear how many times he was wounded.
Authorities are searching for a single gunman in the case. Police could be seen at the scene with K-9 units in the hours after the shooting. Law-enforcement sources told Fox Atlanta that the investigation is being hampered because many of the security cameras at the mall are not working.
The Saigon Strip Mall is where the SL Lounge nightclub is located. The club advertised an appearance from Dixon on their official Instagram page for his birthday party. Dixon wrote in the caption for his appearance at the club, “We litty tonight @slloungeatl come catch the vibe.”
2. Rapper Akbar V Said in Her Tribute to Dixon that He Had Been Having Trouble With Family Members
Fellow rapper, Akbar V, also paid her respects to Dixon in a series of Instagram posts and videos. In one tribute, Akbar wrote that Dixon had been having problems with his family members. She adds, “All u wanted was u an your brother to get back close.” Durant is also tagged in that post with Akbar saying that Dixon used to say that Durant’s mother took Dixon in when he was a child.
3. Dixon Played College Basketball at Western Kentucky University
Dixon was a college basketball star at Western Kentucky University. On his Facebook page, Dixon said that he is from Suitland, Maryland, where he played high school ball at Suitland High School. Dixon describes himself as a small forward on that profile. At the time the Facebook page was last updates, 2015, Dixon said he was living in Bowie, Maryland.
In February 2011, Dixon was dismissed from the WKU program following an incident in which he did not return to his team’s bench for the second half of a game. Dixon had not played a single minute of the first half. One report said that Dixon watched the second half in his street clothes in the stands.
Dixon told the Bowling Green Daily News just before his dismissal that he had “no regrets” about his choices. Dixon added, “These past years have been so tough on me, I can’t even begin to explain it all. It’s been rough. I wish I could explain it, but it’s been a rough road.” In that article, WKU coach Ken McDonald was hugely complimentary of Dixon’s style of self-sacrifice for the good of the team.
Dixon transferred to WKU in the summer of 2009 having played a season for Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. In total, Dixon played 55 games for WKU, starting seven of them. Dixon played professionally in 2014 for a time with UBSC Graz in Austria.
4. In January 2019, Dixon Accused Erica Mena & Safaree of Stealing From Him
In January 2019, Dixon accused his ex-girlfriend, model Erica Mena, and her fiance Safaree of stealing from him. Dixon said in a series of Instagram story videos, via Atlanta Black Star, “Since you’ve got the police involved I tried to do s*** the right way & come pick up my TVs & rims & you say they ain’t there. How ya’ll sposed to have so much money but yall stealing from me.” Mena responded by accusing Dixon of being a thief and called his allegations a “cry wolf story.” She added, “He refused to get his things out of my home. My charity in this case was to pay the expenses to get them removed for him.” Mena also accused Dixon of stealing from Kevin Durant.
In October 2018, TMZ reported that Dixon and Mena had broken up after they were involved in a domestic violence incident. During that event, Mena was accused of marijuana possession and Dixon was arrested for criminal trespassing. The pair dated for close to a year. In a now-deleted post, Mena referred to Dixon’s ex-girlfriend as a “little girl,” around the time of their break-up.
In 2016, The Jasmine Brand “exclusively” reported that Dixon had been in a “faux” relationship with reality star India Love that was designed to further both of their careers. Dixon was also linked to rapper The Game’s former girlfriend, Briona Mae, in 2015 and singer, Rihanna, in 2015.
A month after their split, Mena was dating rapper Safaree Samuels.
5. Dixon’s Death Has Led to an Outpouring of Grief on Social Media
As news of Dixon’s tragic death spread across social media, friends and fans alike expressed their grief. Here are some of the most poignant messages of remembrance: