RIP Anthony Mason A New York Knickerbockers
Anthony Mason played parts of 13 seasons in the NBA and was a key member of the 1993-94 Knicks team that reached the NBA Finals.
A Knicks spokesperson confirmed Mason’s death to ESPN. The 13-year NBA veteran had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month.
“First I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciates it,” his son, Anthony Mason Jr., said Saturday. “Overnight, New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother … but more than anything our father, Anthony Mason. As you all would expect our father — Big Mase — put up an incredible fight, dealing with a severe heart issue. I’m wishing this was something else I was writing, but Pops we’ve got to let you know we love you and know you’ll always be with us.”
Mason’s other son Antoine had said earlier this week that his father was “getting better” following multiple heart surgeries.
Mason was a fan favorite during his five-year tenure with the Knicks. The 6-foot-7 forward teamed with Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks to help the Knicks win the Eastern Conference in 1994 and reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games.
Mason won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award in 1994-95 as a member of the Knicks. He also played with the Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat following his stint with the Knicks.
“Anthony was a multifaceted individual,” his longtime agent Don Cronson told ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor. “There were many aspects to his personality, and some that people weren’t aware of. In the best sense of the term he was a momma’s boy. From the day I met him he was always thinking of his mom and taking care of her. As rough and tough as he was, Anthony was also a doting father, and I saw that many times.
“Anthony willed himself into the NBA, and very few players can do that. Any NBA team could’ve had him for a nickel, and he turned out to be the perfect Pat Riley player. I think Pat saw a lot of himself in Anthony, and really they were the same guy. That’s why they butted heads as often as they did. They were both blue-collar guys and fighters. Anthony told me, ‘Pat Riley was the one who gave me my chance. He’s the one who saw something in me when nobody else did.'” Here is a vintage clip of Mason Guarding Jordan..