Former NBA power forward, 48-year old Anthony Mason has reportedly suffered a massive heart attack, while recovering from a surgery. Mason is alive, Bloomberg reported.
Ian Begley, who covers the NY Knicks for ESPN reported that Mason is in the hospital, and is “fighting for his life”, with family near him, hoping for the best.
Begley said Mason suffered a heart attack several days ago and has since had multiple surgeries at a New York hospital.
Several of Mason’s former teammates reacted to the news, as well as the Knicks team itself.
“He’s stable right now,” former teammate John Starks, an executive with the Knicks, said. “He’s critical. Hasn’t gotten worse.”
Starks said Mason was a consummate jokester.
“He kept everything lighthearted,” he said. “It’s kind of hard for me to talk about it right now with all he’s going through.”
Meanwhile, earlier Mason’s another former teammate Charles Oakley also said Mason just had surgery, without providing any details. Former Knicks point guard Mark Jackson sent a tweet, praying for Mason.
The Knicks sent out a Twitter message saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony Mason and his family.” The team did not provide additional details.
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.
Mason 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.
Jeff Van Gundy, an assistant under Riley at the time, praised Mason’s defensive intensity and physicality.
“He came up the hard way,” Van Gundy said in a telephone interview. “He was a terrific on-ball defender with great passing and ball-handling skills. Just a terrific competitor.”
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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