Anthony Mason: as remembered by ESPN, NY Times readers

anthony-masonAnthony Mason was selected in the third round of the 1988 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, but never played for them, and was waived.

Before Mason became famous for playing with the Knicks, his basketball path has been a mixed one. He played in Turkey and Venezuela before joining the then-New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets for short stints. He also played in the USBL and CBA.

Mason was a fan-favorite in New York, where he found a permanent home with the local New York Knicks in 1991, after receiving an invite to play on the organization’s summer league team.

ExNBA gathered some memories of Mason, written by the readers of ESPN and NY Times, to get a more complete picture of what Anthony Mason was like, and how people remember him.Don’t forget to see what Mason’s former teammates recall about him.

ANTHONY MASON – from the memories of fans (minor editing applied)

– I’ll never forget when my car wouldn’t start at Green Acres Mall in Long Island… I asked this very tall young man if he had any cables. He said I’ll be right back. He brought some cables and gave me a boost. When he finished and left, another mall patron came over to me and said: That was Anthony Mason, the Knicks player who just gave you that jump. I rushed home and told my son’s and anyone who would listen how Anthony Mason helped Me. Once again , THANK YOU ANTHONY MASON. I have been YOUR FAN ever since. You will be missed. GOD SPEED TO HEAVEN LOVE ALWAYS…

– I know he wasn’t great like Jordan, but he epitomized NY basketball. I worked a few blocks from the Garden during those great years and the Knicks owned the city. On game night, the city was electric. Of all the guys on that team, I loved watching Mason and Oakley the most. Took no BS and ALWAYS played hard. Never took a play off. I always viewed him as invincible.

– I remember seeing Mason outside of a club in Miami in 1999. Dude was a tank. I was thinking, I would hate to have to face this dude when playing against. Sorry Mase. Rest easy.

– Mace’s death brought to mind the Pacers/Knicks games of the 90s. Man, some of these guys today who’s game consists of taking the ball to the rim would have lived a different career back then. Between Anthony Mason, Indy’s Davis boys, Charles Oakley, among others, that was a painful proposition. Nobody on those two teams were getting “put on a poster” by anyone. Regardless of the fact it was short and neither team won a championship, from 1993-1996, the Pacers/Knicks were one of the greatest rivalries of all time and I’m very happy I got to live it. R.I.P., Anthony Mason. Signed, Pacers fan

Anthony-Mason– Mason was an intimidator and no one wanted to guard him. He brought a certain kind of toughness to the Knicks. I loved his free throw form, too. RIP Mason.

– RIP MASE! I used to go to “Anthony Mason’s Prime Time Basketball Camp” in Upstate NY. I met him a couple of times and used to hang with his nephew at camp. Mason was a great guy. He would play ball with the counselors and mess with them constantly, he put on a great show for us kids. Those were some of my fondest memories, always one of my favorites! You will be missed!

– I am a Bulls fan but Mason was the one player that I felt could play on any team at any time. I would have loved seeing him pound the boards with Oakley and Grant. He was a pleasure to watch. I wish his family many great memories of this wonderful person.

– Good memories those Bulls-Knicks games/playoff series. MJ never had a cakewalk. I can still remember games where Mason would be D-ing up MJ. Of course MJ got the best of most of those moments, but the fact the that a 6’7, 260 Mase could keep his Airness in front of him, forcing him into contested jumpers (that went in anyway) was always impressive.

– Will miss MASE. Enjoyed our talks with him. He called MANN TRAVELS for his travel plans. Sometimes I talked to him several times a week. I always expressed to him what a great player he was and how much I missed that ” left hand hook” he possessed. RIP my friend.

– Dude could dribble better that point guards.

– Mason was my favorite Knick player ever! Had the pleasure of meeting him twice! What a great guy! Rest in peace Mase! I will never forget “Mase in your face!”

– One of the best point forwards the Knicks had. I say this with a heavy heart. He will be missed. Thank you Anthony Mason. For trying to win those Championship for us New Yorkers. For being a New Yorker.

– RIP Anthony Mason. Amazing agility for a man his size. Every time I see LeBron down the lane untouched, I always say, “I would like to see him try that against the Knicks frontline of the 90s.” Mason, Oakley and Ewing would have him shooting Js the rest of the night!

anthony-mason-knicks– Mase I will forever have you in my prayers, and will remember you as a hard nose player. If not for you and John Starks the chest bump that today’s player’s do would not be. Every player that does that chest should give you big shout out.

–  I remember the epic Pacers playoff battles with the Knicks. His presence was always felt in the paint. Im glad Jordan retired that first time around, otherwise players like Reggie Miller,John Starks and Anthony Mason wouldn’t have had their time in the spotlight and earned their places in NBA History. Mason played how a forward was suppose to play the game, tough and with a chip on his shoulder! Thank you for the memories Mr.Mason,may God allow your entrance into heaven…

– What I will remember most is that he was one of the very few that could defend O’Neal body to body, and not let him get an easy basket by backing his way in.

– First muscle dude with handles like a guard. I remember they used him as a point forward.

– He and the Knicks used to stay at a hotel that I worked at in Philly. He would always have his friend or family member drive his white Mercedes Benz down from NY. It had all the gadgets. The doors could pop open from a key remote. Funny looking back. Those were great days. Mr. Mason enjoyed a club there too at the time called Gotham. This was around 1996-97. I’m sorry to learn of his passing.

– As a Bulls fan I hated Anthony Mason when the Bulls and the Knicks played, but I always respected the man. I loved his effort. And he seemed like a great person and teammate.

– RIP Anthony Mason…remember him and his family coming into my tailor shop in Jamaica when he was a kid growing up…

– My brother and I always got a kick out of (and still quote to this day) one of Mace’s lines after a win on the road: “nothing better than eating from someone else’s fridge and watching their cable.” Thanks for the great line and unbelievable effort on the floor. Condolences to the Mason family.

– I remember a game where Mason got a technical foul for glaring at the referee. He didn’t say anything; didn’t move a muscle. He merely stood there with his hands on his hips, chin tilted down, and glared. First time I ever saw that called in a game.

– I saw Mase play a game at the 4th st. court while he was a Knick. The players were all good. BUT when Mason passed the ball, at about 100 mph in heavy traffic, it was clear why he was in the NBA. One tough guy, who loved basketball.

– In many ways Mase was my favorite Knick player of that era. He was capable of literally reversing the momentum of a game on defense – in a city where defense was tantamount to our basketball religion. He was a terrific ball-handler, especially for his size – and a relentless competitor.

anthony-mason-2– When the Knicks finally made it to the NBA finals, it was Mason who drew the short straw of having to defend Hakeem Olajuwon, then playing at an unimaginable level, throughout much of game. Patrick was great, but Olajuwon was playing as if an immortal among humans at that point in his career. Without Mase taking up the burden, I don’t know that the Knicks even get beyond a Game 5 in that series. With him, with and a better shooting night in Game 7 from John Starks, Ewing had a chance to get his ring – despite being outplayed. But it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t a big fan of his trade to Charlotte for a past-his-prime Larry Johnson – but management had its reasons, and the rest is history. But when I think fondly of those Knick teams of the 90s, my imagination will also turn first to thoughts of Anthony Mason (and his brother in arms and defense, Charles Oakley). Give me the old style, in-your-face NBA play (as epitomized by either the Knicks or the Pistons of that era) any day to the glorified three point shooting and dunk contests that David Stern and Adam Silver clearly preferred.

– The story I most remember about Anthony Mason was not at a Knicks game but a Rangers game I attended in the 1994 playoffs. The crowd was dead, the game was not going well, but suddenly to my left a wave of cheers starting rising and filling the building. I looked over and Anthony Mason was hop-skipping the perimeter of the arena in a Rangers jersey, waving a second jersey in the air, with a smile on his face, raising the spirits of the crowd. We were all on our feet as he passed by, a big man’s reminder at how lucky we were to have both our teams in the hunt for championships. That was Anthony Mason’s spirit, and I am saddened that his family and all of New York has lost one our great native sons, far too soon. I would have loved seeing a grey haired 70 year old Mason reflecting back on the great years like we see the Knicks of the 70s now. He’ll be missed, but I am glad we had him.

– Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Rangers and Vancouver was in Vancouver and was shown in the MSG Forum so fans without cable television could get to watch it, and among them was guess who? Anthony Mason. Although the Rangers lost that game, they won the Cup three nights later at the Garden, and brought it the next night to Game 3 of the Knicks’ Final against Houston, which may have inspired the Knicks to win the game and match the Rangers as Champions, which unfortunately fell short in Game 7 in Houston.

– I live in Dallas. Years ago in the late 90’s I played AAU ball, Mr.Mason would watch. He and I became tight. Even though he was listed at 6’7, he was about 6’4 with the widest frame I’ve ever seen. People this guy had a great spirit, and will be missed. Lastly, in the 2000’s after college, I became a local business owner. Anthony and I would always run into each other at the Galleria Mall.

– RIP Mase. An entire generation of Knicks fans mourn your passing and will always remember your heart and grit both on and off the court.


48-year old Mason passed away on Feb. 28, after multiple heart surgeries, and following a massive heart attack. In recent years, Mason worked in the insurance business. Mason’s survivors include his mother, Mary and two sons, Anthony Jr. and Antoine.

Mason played high school basketball in the New York City, attended the Tennessee State University, then basketball minor leagues, before coming into the NBA. The 6-foot-7 defensive stalwart spent 13 seasons in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, NY Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. He won the Sixth Man of the Year for the 1994-95 Knicks, coached by Pat Riley. The 1993-94 team lost in the finals to the Houston Rockets.

Mason played in 882 NBA games (started in 559), for New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, NY Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. Mason averaged career high 16.2 ppg, 5.7 apg and 11.4 rpg for Hornets during the 1996-97 season. He was named NBA All-Star in 2001.


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