Christopher Wallace—known to most as Biggie, Biggie Smalls, or The Notorious B.I.G.—made an indelible mark on hip hop’s history. Widely considered one of the best rappers of all time, he put out two classic albums before his untimely death at 24, and a few after that as well.
Even earlier, though—as a kid growing up in Clinton Hill—he made his mark on the local park, Crispus Attucks Playground. As his friend, DJ Fly Ty, recently told CBS New York, “this park was Biggie’s park.” Now, after years of trying, his friends and relatives have made that official, by naming the park’s basketball courts after him.
Christopher “Biggie” Wallace Courts, is located at 1030 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. As NY1 reported in June, the name change fulfills a promise that City Councilman Robert Cornegy made years ago to his neighbor, Biggie’s mother Voletta Wallace, to honor her son.
The basketball courts at Crispus Attucks playground in Brooklyn has been renamed after Notorious B.I.G. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/xYKPlCxv9P— All Def Music (@AllDefMusic) August 2, 2017
At a ceremony on August 2, Cornegy, Wallace, and a few of Biggie’s other relatives and friends snipped a ribbon with golden scissors as a DJ played “Juicy.”
“If you were to tell Biggie that he was getting basketball courts named after him he would have laughed,” one of his friends and earliest promoters, Mister Cee, told XXL. “He was just a funny dude, always laughing.”
The courts join a few other Biggie memorials in the area, including a huge mural at Bedford Avenue and Quincy Street, a jersey hanging in the Barclays Center, and the annual Christopher Wallace Memorial Basketball Tournament, which will take place on the courts this weekend.
The Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum is also raising money for a six-foot-tall Biggie statue made of bronze, which they hope to put up in public soon.
Cornegey hopes that officially remembering Biggie will help Clinton Hill keep its identity in the face of rising rents and chain stores. “This community is under siege, as it relates to gentrification,” he wrote in a statement. “I don’t care who lives here, you come in this park, you’re gonna have to know who Biggie Smalls was.”
And if you don’t know? Now you know.
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