Anthony Mason, Former New York Knicks Fan Favorite Passes Away


Anthony Mason, a 13-year NBA veteran who New York Knicks fans hold a special place in their fandom hearts and memories for, passed away Saturday morning at the age of 48. Mason had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month, undergoing multiple surgeries to try and save his life. Unfortunately nothing would nurse Mason back to health, who has been fighting for his life according to people close to the situation since the first surgeries earlier in the month.

Mason’s family released a statement Saturday morning, mentioning how he fought like a warrior, just as anyone would have expected from Mason.

"“We would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt thoughts and strong prayers. Anthony felt each and every one. He fought like a warrior to the very end. Please keep your prayers and thoughts with us through this very hard time — it is a great loss for us. We are for our privacy during this time.”"

Mason’s oldest son, Anthony Mason Jr., who some people will remember from his time with St. John’s from 2006-2010, released a statement of his own as well Saturday.

“First I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciates it. 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 is best known for his time with the New York Knicks, when he was a main cog alongside Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks that helped the Knicks reach the 1994 NBA Finals. They may have lost to the Houston Rockets that season, but the bruising, physical style of play epitomized the Pat Riley-led Knicks of the time. That type of play also endeared him to the New York faithful, becoming a fan favorite during his time with the Knicks.

Ewing said in a statement, “My heart is heavy after learning that we lost Anthony Mason last night. We were teammates on the Knicks for five great seasons. Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together. I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace.

Oakley took to Twitter Saturday morning to send his condolences, tweeting out the following.

Plenty of people had words to share about Mason, and it was not just limited to teammates. One of his fiercest opponents, Phil Jackson had words as well. Jackson, who is now the Knicks’ President, was the head coach of one of the Knicks’ most hated rivals in the Chicago Bulls when Mason played for the Knicks. In a statement released Saturday, Jackson said, “As a competitor, there was none fiercer than Anthony Mason. Standing on the opposite end of the playing field, coaching in those great Chicago/New York battles, No. 14 in Orange and Blue always stood out. Out behalf of the entire Knickerbocker community, our condolences go out to his family.”

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During his 13-year career, Mason played for the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets and Milwaukee Bucks in addition to the Knicks. He would make is lone All-Star game as a member of the Heat in the 2000-2001 season, where he was reunited with Riley.

This is an unfortunate loss, one that will be felt by plenty of people. Our prayers are with the Mason family during this most difficult time.

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