John Starks, long suspected of being the player in question, denied that in a 2014 episode of ESPN’s “Highly Questionable,” but the former shooting guard did confirm that the basics of the story were true. On Monday, hosts Dan LeBatard and Bomani Jones — nothing if not dogged in their quest to get to the bottom of the story — finally got their answer from another New York rapper, Fat Joe, who gave them this name: Anthony Mason.
When Fat Joe said, “it was about Anthony Mason,” he added, “rest in peace,” a reference to the fact that the former power forward died last year. The 45-year-old rapper was close to B.I.G., but he denied hearing that directly, instead saying, “That was the rumor, that was the very strong possibility rumor. It was about Anthony Mason.”
The timeline fits, given that Mason, who also played for the Nets, Nuggets, Hornets, Heat and Bucks, was a Knick from 1991 to 1996. In the song, Biggie indicated that the incident took place during and after a game against the Utah Jazz, which Internet sleuths have identified as having been played on Nov. 12, 1995.
However, Biggie also rapped about the player in question being “one of them six-five n—-s,” which threw many off the scent. That raised the possibility that the subject was Starks or Hubert Davis, both listed at 6 feet 5, rather than one of the team’s taller players.
It’s hardly likely that B.I.G., who was 6-2, was looking at a roster when he wrote the song, however, and Mason was listed variously at 6-7 or 6-8, close enough to make sense. Another New York rapper, Jadakiss, told the “Highly Questionable” hosts in 2014 (again: Jones and LeBatard are dogged) that he thought the Knick in question could have been Mason, Larry Johnson or Derek Harper. “Those were the crazy Knicks back then,” Jadakiss said.
Neither Mason nor Biggie is around anymore to confirm or deny Fat Joe’s assertion. The important thing, perhaps, is that LeBatard and Jones can now move on to other hip-hop mysteries. You know such as, Who killed B.I.G., anyway?