What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Unreleased ‘Makaveli’ liner notes reveal anger Tupac died holding

Lost ‘Seven Day Theory’ transcript attacks Biggie, Diddy, Jay-Z, Faith Evans and more

11:24 AMA previously unreleased manuscript further reveals the depths of rancor Tupac Shakur lived with in his final days.

Less than a month before his murder in Las Vegas, ‘Pac famously recorded the final album of his life (not career), The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, within a week in August 1996. Released under the alias “Makaveli,” while lyrically sharp and poetically introspective in pockets, the project followed suit with the themes that defined Shakur’s most successful, most complex and final year. Killuminati took direct aim at foes he believed wronged him — in the 1994 Quad Studios shooting attempt on his life and the sexual assault trial that landed him in a New York maximum security prison for much of 1995. Until now, the album’s original liner notes had never been released. And much like several Shakur artifacts (his letter to Madonna, the BMW he was murdered in, etc.), an original transcript of Shakur’s thoughts has hit the auction market.

In the short statement, Shakur blasts a multitude of people for a multitude of reasons. Jacques “Haitian Jack” Agnant for making the call for the Quad shooting. Walter “King Tut” Johnson for pulling the trigger. Biggie, Diddy, Little Shawn (the artist he was supposed to be recording a record with the night he was shot in 1994) and Jimmy Henchman for remaining “silent while quietly conspiring on my downfall.” The notes read like a manifesto of a man’s dying proclamation, so obsessed and hell-bent on revenge while unknowingly serving as a pawn in Suge Knight and Death Row’s endgame of a bicoastal war with Puffy and Bad Boy Records. Without shame, he once again name-checks Faith Evans, thanking her for her greatest weapon (“her low self-esteem” and “beat up p—y”). Names such as Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim, De La Soul and Donnie Simpson are also caught in Shakur’s verbal crossfire.

However right he felt he may have been, and whatever role some of these names may have plotted on his fate, this hatred led him into a demise that would shift pop culture forever. But the soliloquy is a far cry from what he hoped his legacy would be. “I want people to be talking about me like, ‘Remember when Tupac was real bad?’ ” he said shortly after his release from prison. “We all should get that chance. I just want my chance.”

While Shakur is eternally painted in history as rap’s greatest martyr, one of its most beautiful thinkers and cultural critics and perhaps the most influential name the genre will ever see, this is undeniably part of his legacy too. Venom and vindictiveness had overtaken his life. The result of a combination of manipulation, stubbornness and getting in too deep in a game where the only exit strategy is death. “I don’t wanna die,” he told VIBE in 1996, “but if I gotta go I wanna go without pain.” Tupac died angry with hate in his heart — the worst pain of all.

Philly sports teams are having their best year yet; Philly music is not

The City of Brotherly Love is the newest title town, but native rapper Meek Mill isn’t having the same luck

10:50 AMIf you’re a Philly sports fan, this quote from legendary black philosopher Young Jeezy’s 2005 sermon “Get Ya Mind Right,” Minus the bulls—, life’s great, may be extremely relevant to your life right now.

After years of coming up short and outright irrelevant in some sports, Philadelphia is America’s newest title town. The Eagles are the reigning Super Bowl champs and widely regarded as the most socially conscious team in a league that would rather its players be anything but. They also appear to be getting stronger with a slew of offseason moves. The Sixers are riding a 10-game winning streak, Ben Simmons is dating rhythm and blues starlet Tinashe, and, despite a recent injury, All-Star Joel Embiid should be back in time for the playoffs (though that hasn’t stopped him from tweeting Rihanna once again). The Philadelphia Flyers are still in playoff contention as the NHL season winds down. The Phillies are still in the hunt — with only 159 regular season games remaining. And Monday night the Villanova Wildcats captured their second national championship in the past three seasons with a 79-62 victory over Michigan.

On the flip side, all is not well in Philly’s pop culture world. The cold war between Judge Genece Brinkley and Meek Mill wages on. Brinkley recently denied the request to recuse herself from Mill’s case after repeated attempts by his legal team. She then doubled down by killing the request to reconsider his sentencing, calling Mill’s two- to four-year term “absolutely necessary.” Meek, of course, has become a rallying point for the city’s sports teams — especially the Eagles, who rallied (literally and figuratively) around his “Dreams and Nightmares” intro all the way to the city’s first Super Bowl championship, and the Sixers, with Embiid and Sixers minority owner Michael Rubin visiting the rapper in prison.

Such is just the latest chapter in a saga that has transcended hip-hop, becoming a lightning rod around the ongoing criminal justice debate. Mill’s next post-conviction hearing is set for April 16.

Don’t try this at home: a 36-year-old accountant plays goalie for the Blackhawks

Here’s why it would never work in football, basketball or baseball

5:34 PMYou know the scene in Rudy where members of the 1975 Notre Dame football team lift the titular character on their shoulder pads and carry him off the field? Such a heartwarming, grit-into-greatness underdog story of an objectively mediocre kid who Chester and Spike’d his way onto the field for a big-time college football program.

In 2018, we now have Rudy 2 (or 2 Rudy 2 Furious, or the Nike-inspired Ru2y).

On Thursday night, 36-year-old accountant Scott Foster suited up as an emergency goalie for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks when they faced the visiting Winnipeg Jets because of injuries to starter Anton Forsberg and backup J.F. Berube, and a demotion of Jean-François Berube to the team’s minor league affiliate earlier in the week. Foster, who played hockey at Division I Western Michigan, was signed to what’s called an amateur tryout (ATO) contract, which was for just one day and came with zero compensation.

Unlike Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger, Foster actually played admirably in his lone outing, playing in 14 minutes against the playoff-bound Jets and stopping all seven shots he faced. His 1.000 save percentage would tie him for the league lead if he were eligible.

Hockey, as Stu Hackel at The Hockey News pointed out, has one of the weirdest rules of any of the major American sports leagues that allows any Joe the Plumber to lace up his skates and go up against real-life professional athletes. “It’s the only pro sport with the potential for someone not on the roster to come out of the stands and actually play in the game,” Hackel wrote.

And while the Bow Wow-led Like Mike inspired many basketball fans to believe they, too, could cross over Jason Kidd or Allen Iverson, what Foster managed to accomplish on Thursday is next to impossible in the other three major sports. In essence, no amount of “intelligence,” “intangibles” or “determination” is preventing any nonprofessional from getting washed if they step on the field, court or diamond.

Here’s why:

National Football League

If you ever wanted to experience a ruptured spleen, broken back and concussion all at once, just try returning one kickoff against an NFL special teams unit. No amount of padding is saving you from a 280-pounder running 20 mph at you with nothing in his way by air and resistance. A 36-year-old who used to play tight end for Miami (Ohio) 10 years ago wants zero parts of James Harrison in the open field. Harrison would fold that person up like a fitted sheet and toss him on the sideline like he was taking out the trash. Brian Bosworth was the baddest man on the planet until he met Bo Jackson, so there’s nothing but blood and guts in the future for any lesser person against NFL competition. Go be a family man rather than try this.

National Basketball Association

Remember that time DeAndre Jordan murdered Brandon Knight? Or the time Kyrie Irving made Knight look like he was doing the Wobble on the court? Or the time Nikola Pekovic ran through Knight like he was just a child? What I am trying to say here is that if a 6-foot-3, 195-pound man like Knight gets embarrassed nearly every night, what chance does Robert Jones from Queens have against a charging LeBron James coming down the court? Deflecting a 90 mph hockey puck is peanuts to Shaquille O’Neal caving in your chest like the hood of a car. There are no longer “posterizations” in the NBA, either; the second you get dunked on or crossed over like Wesley Johnson, that clip has already been shared on Twitter more than 200,000 times. There’s no coming back from being on the wrong side of a meme. I am almost 100 percent certain that Johnson hasn’t been seen since what James Harden did to him.

Major League Baseball

What baseball lacks in contact, it makes up for in nostalgia and danger. For one, no matter how many times you visited the batting cages at your local miniature golf facility, you’re not making contact with any ball that Clayton Kershaw or Noah Syndergaard are sending across the plate. In hockey, you can at least use your body to deflect the puck; there are no such safeguards in baseball. A 100 mph fastball is doing one of two things: 1) safely landing in the catcher’s mitt or 2) ricocheting off your skull because you played the game the “wrong way.” That’s the real danger in the majors. Brain aneurysms are handed out like candy in that sport because someone had the nerve to flip his bat 12 feet into the air. How do you think you’d manage when you’re desecrating the sanctity of baseball by not paying your dues by riding on a musty bus to the middle of North Dakota to play in front of 1,500 fans? Even if the pitchers don’t get you, there’s a guy at second base ready to fracture your leg or a 72-year-old coach trying to run up on you from the dugout. High risk, zero reward.

Stephon Clark’s autopsy results released a day ahead of rally created by former King Matt Barnes

The Sacramento native also provided financial assistance for Clark’s funeral

5:06 PMThe day before retired NBA veteran and Sacramento, California, native Matt Barnes was set to hold a rally in the wake of the death of Stephon Clark, the results of an independent autopsy on Clark’s body were released during a news conference on Friday morning.

The Sacramento Bee broke the news at approximately 9 a.m. PST, after Ben Crump, the attorney retained by the Clark family, spoke to the local paper. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the doctor famous for his discovery and research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy and portrayed by Will Smith in the 2015 movie Concussion, announced his findings outside of the Southside Christian Center.

Clark was shot eight times, with six bullets hitting him in the back, while another one hit him in his side.

On March 18, the 22-year-old father of two was gunned down by Sacramento police officers Terrence Mercadal and Jared Robinet, who each fired 10 shots at Clark in his grandmother’s backyard.

Autopsy results by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office have not been made public, and as a result of not trusting the coroner’s office, Clark’s family decided it wanted a private autopsy. CBS has reported that a federal civil lawsuit could be coming from the family as soon as Friday.

A funeral service was held for Clark on Thursday at Bayside Boss Church. Barnes attended the event, as did the Rev. Al Sharpton, who provided the eulogy. Barnes, a former Sacramento King and Del Campo High basketball player, provided financial assistance for the funeral. He spoke to USA Today Sports‘ Sam Amick about his efforts to persuade current Golden State Warriors and Kings players to participate in the rally, being held at noon, before their game Saturday night.

With eight games to go and the Warriors 6½ games out of first place behind the Houston Rockets and 8½ ahead of No. 3 Portland in the Western Conference, their position in the No. 2 spot is nearly set. The Kings, on the other hand, are about to miss their 12th straight postseason with their 24-51 record.

“I know the Warriors and the Kings both play that night, so I’m going to try to talk to both sides and, you know, the game at this point kind of doesn’t really matter,” Barnes, who played 74 games with the Warriors and Kings last season, told Amick after the funeral. “The [playoff] positions are already set, so I’m hoping [the Warriors] can come out and support.

“Being a father of two boys, it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart, so it’s something I had to get involved in,” Barnes said. “I think we need [change], and I’m going to make sure I show my face more and more in Sacramento to make sure it happens. [The Police Department is] so worried about the gang violence, but at the same time we’ve got to hold these people who are paid to protect and serve accountable. … The black-on-black crime is also something that’s very prevalent in these neighborhoods, and I’m here to try to help make a change.”

On Thursday, the Kings announced they were holding an event with Black Lives Matter Sacramento and the Build. Black. Coalition to uplift the black youths in their community and setting up a fund for Clark’s two young sons. Forward Vince Carter and guard Garrett Temple were announced as attending the event.

“We have a rally Saturday at noon at [Cesar] Chavez Park … to hold these people accountable, to bring the community together, and address the black-on-black crime issue in not only this neighborhood but in neighborhoods across the country,” Barnes said. “Tons of former and current players called me to ask what I was doing, so myself and my team, we jumped in the line of action, providing whatever the family needed and putting together the rally for Saturday.”