The Nets went all in on their tributes to Biggie Smalls (aka Christopher Wallace) in unveiling their City Edition jerseys and commemorative court. Like last season when they unveiled a banner honoring the Notorious B.I.G. at Barclays Center, the Nets want to establish a connection with the Brooklyn icon ... and a community far from the hipster culture many in the media associate with their brand.
The video that got the biggest praise —and plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s— was the recasting of the Nets introduction clip with a Biggie tone...
The Nets posted two other videos from local politicians who praised the hip-hop master dying young, killed in a drive-by shooting on the streets of L.A. in 1997. He was 24.
Brooklyn Borough President @BPEricAdams: "When you see a jersey with Biggie Smalls on it, a young child that's practicing right now knows that one day he too could be come that big."#WeGoBig pic.twitter.com/VehAbPjFyw— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 17, 2018
U.S. Congressman @RepJeffries (NY-8): "Brooklyn is an iconic brand that is known internationally and Biggie has become a tremendous part of the borough's reputation throughout the world."#WeGoBig pic.twitter.com/EgqH623Aj2— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 17, 2018
There was also a marketing video as well, showing the coogi jerseys for sale at the Nets store in the arena along with Nets players and broadcasters wearing the pattern Biggie made famous.
As Rachel Nichols of ESPN tweeted, the overall effort had a real wow factor...
But not everyone was that impressed. Norman Oder, critic and chronicler of the Atlantic Yards project, noted that Smalls was criticized during his life for his misogyny and violent lyrics. But as Tupac Shakur, Biggie’s hip-hop contemporary, once said, “I have not brought violence to you. I have not brought ‘thug life’ to America. I didn’t create ‘thug life;’ I diagnosed it.”