Remembering Anthony Mason : Mase Will Be Missed
- Updated: March 2, 2015
By Lloyd Carroll
The passing of former New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and Springfield Gardens High School basketball star Anthony Mason at age 48 last Saturday triggered a ton of eulogies and it made national news. While he did make the NBA All-Star team in 2001, Mason was always more of a role player than a marquee attraction. Nonetheless there were many good reasons for the outpouring of tributes.
Mason was tough as nails on the court and never minded doing the grunt work of diving for loose balls and battling for rebounds. Just as he was a tough competitor on the court, Mason was just as tenacious trying to recover from a massive heart attack in early February as he was in an NBA contest. He appeared to be on the mend but alas a happy ending was not meant to be.
The public loved Anthony’s work ethic both on and off the court. While he was nicely compensated when he was an NBA player, he did not make enough to retire when his NBA career ended. Over the years whenever I would run into Mason he would tell me about a clothing line that he started as well as his work in the insurance industry.
Few professional athletes enjoyed meets and greets with the public as much as Mason did. My mail carrier told me how gracious Mase was at a Knicks playoff viewing party at which he signed autographs and chatted with fans that had to have gone far beyond the time and effort for which he was contracted.
He certainly had style. In the early 1990s he drove New Jersey Nets head coach Bill Fitch, the personification of old school, crazy when he had his barber engrave “MASE” on the side of his head.