Brooklyn's most-famous son just got a basketball court named in his honor.
It’s not exactly the Christopher Wallace Way, but it’s still a way that future generations can remember Brooklyn’s most-famous son. As part of a $2.5 million renovation of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Crispus Attucks playground, New York City’s parks department has unveiled a new basketball court named after The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher “Biggie” Wallace Courts was the end result of a promise that the neighborhood’s councilman Robert Cornegy made to Wallace’s mother 20 years ago. After a push to name St. James Place after the rapper, Cornegy vowed that he would find a way to immortalize the slain rap star.
At the unveiling, Cornegy said the courts will preserve a piece of the neighborhood’s history in the face of rapid gentrification. “This community is under siege, as it relates to gentrification,” said Cornegy, according to the Bed-Stuy Patch. “I don’t care who lives here, you come in this park, you’re gonna have to know who Biggie Smalls was.”
Not A Funeral
Cornegy wanted to keep spirits high at the unveiling, which featured appearances from Junior M.A.F.I.A. member Lil Cease and Biggie’s daughter T’yanna Wallace. The crowd played Biggie songs to keep the air celebratory.
The kids who the court was built for didn’t need to be told twice. As soon as the court was clear, kids started to play on it, much in the same way that Cornegy did with Wallace when they were kids.
A Long Time Coming
The courts are the first successful attempt to name something for the late rapper. Cornegy attempted to get St. James Place named for the Ready To Die rapper two decades ago and failed. A recent attempt to rename a street in Biggie’s former neighborhood Christopher Wallace Way also failed, with council members critiquing whether the rapper is a good role model.
Not Just Courts
In addition to the new basketball courts and a plaque in the late rapper’s honor, the renovation project included new playground equipment, handball courts, gardens and wheelchair ramps for the rest of the playground.