Former New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason has sadly passed away at the age of 48:
A source has confirmed the passing of former Knick Anthony Mason early this morning. Incredibly sad news.
— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) February 28, 2015
Mason suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago and underwent multiple heart surgeries, but he had reportedly been improving over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse and he passed away.
Mason had quite the incredible NBA story. He was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft, but he didn’t make the team. His professional career started overseas in Turkey, and he spent the next few years bouncing around between the NBA, CBA and USBL. He had brief stints with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets, but nothing panned out.
It wasn’t until 1991, when Mason signed with the Knicks, that he found his niche. Over the next few years, he blossomed into a fan-favorite as an enforcer in New York, playing alongside Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks to form the core of a highly successful Knicks team. The big man won Sixth Man of the Year in 1995.
Mason left New York for the Charlotte Hornets in 1996, and he had three successful seasons there, with one year mixed in that he missed due to an injury. In his first season in Charlotte, Mason averaged a career-high 16.2 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Mason re-united with Pat Riley with the Miami Heat in 2000, and in his lone season in Miami, the power forward went to the All-Star Game. Mason finished his career with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2001-03.