By Scott Enman
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It was only fitting that on the night that the Brooklyn Nets honored the late Notorious B.I.G., the team provided an inspiring effort to beat their crosstown rival Knicks.
The 120-112 victory snapped a 16-game home losing streak for the Nets, and the triumph was the team’s first home win of 2017.
Brook Lopez led the team with 25 points and went 6-for-9 from behind the arc.
The Nets paid homage to the renowned rapper Christopher Wallace, or Biggie Smalls. Wallace was born in Fort Greene and lived the majority of his life in Bedford-Stuyvesant before he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997.
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the famed rapper’s death.
Wallace’s mother Voletta Wallace, his children T-Yanna and CJ Wallace and rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs spoke to a packed Barclays Center crowd as part of the tribute. Rappers Lil' Kim and Ice Cube were also present.
Voletta said that Sunday’s game was her first-ever professional basketball game.
''I have to remember what my son said in the past,'' Voletta told the crowd. ''Brooklyn, we did it.''
"There would be no Biggie without Brooklyn," Combs added. "Please look up, so we can do something real special tonight."
Rather than a moment of silence, Combs asked the crowd to make as much noise as possible for a full 10 seconds. The crowd obliged, letting out a deafening roar.
A banner was hung from the rafters to commemorate the life of Wallace. The plaque read, "The Notorious B.I.G., 72, 'Spread Love, It's the Brooklyn Way.'"
The Barclays Center announcer told the crowd, "This banner, honoring the life and legacy of Biggie Smalls, will hang permanently at Barclays Center."
The banner fittingly hung next to another Brooklyn legend’s banner: Jay Z.
Jay Z’s flag hangs from the building’s roof to commemorate his eight sold out shows at Barclays Center in 2012. Jay Z was a partial owner of the Nets at one point and was a huge advocate for bringing the team to the borough from New Jersey.
“Biggie’s music played a major role in positioning Brooklyn at the forefront of the music industry, and on Sunday we [celebrated] his enduring legacy,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “There is no better place to honor him than at Barclays Center, Brooklyn’s biggest stage and the home of hip-hop.”
On behalf of the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, the Nets will renovate the basketball court at Queen of All Saints School in Fort Greene, where Wallace attended middle school.