For many years, NBA All-Star Weekend has been the mecca for combining two worlds seemingly synonymous with one another: Basketball and Hip-hop.
Whether it’s an intermission performance during All-Star Saturday Night or the halftime show during the All-Star Game; the genre typically ranges from R&B singers to rap artists. As you can imagine; a jam-packed city filled with musical acts and NBA stars for a whole weekend can lead to some of the unlikeliest of encounters.
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However, this is one that’s as shocking as they come, especially when it’s a story that took place over 24 years ago.
Kevin Garnett On Meeting The Notorious B.I.G.: ‘I Could Feel Biggie’s Power’
“February 1997. My first All-Star Game in Cleveland,” Garnett wrote in his book, “KG A to Z.” “I was on the street, coming into the hotel, when Biggie and Puffy were getting out of a limo. Biggie was wrapped up in a fur coat so long it was dragging in the snow.”
To KG’s surprise, he was seconds away from a formal introduction.
“Puff spotted me,” Garnett added. “And said, “Big, come here, man. You gotta meet Kevin Garnett.” I said to myself, ‘Oh (expletive), I’m about to meet the royalty of rap. A dude who’s been in my ear since someone slipped me that demo tape called Microphone Murderer.”
Garnett recalled everything from meeting Biggie.
“He spoke to me like he had asthma. Deep voice. Deep breaths,” Garnett wrote. “Long pauses before every word. “Hey man . . . wanna . . . wanna come up and smoke with us?”
“Wish I could, but I got some business.”
“We’ll . . . catch you later . . . big fella.” He had his arm around two fine chicks who were actually standing under his giant fur coat. They were shorted than him but looked like they were carrying him. At the same time, I could feel Biggie’s power.”
Garnett On Turning Biggie Down: ‘Maybe I Was Intimidated’
Garnett, who listed Biggie as his favorite rapper, says he told the first person he saw of the encounter. Garnett expressed some regret when asked how come he didn’t accept the rapper’s invitation to accompany him.
“Maybe I was intimidated,” Garnett wrote. “Everyone gets intimidated. Sam Mitchell taught me not to be intimidated by anyone on the court. But this is off the court. This is Biggie Smalls. I’m looking at real-life Big. It’s a lot to take in. And besides, I don’t got (expletive) to say except, ‘Wow, you’re a hero. You’re my hero.’ So I gave him their space and let them be.”
Little did Garnett know, that brief encounter with the legendary emcee would his first and last.
“Never in my wildest imagination could I have foreseen that a month later the genius rapper would be dead,” Garnett added.
The Notorious B.I.G. was shot dead in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. He was only 24 years old.