Anthony George Douglas Mason was an American basketball player. He was active in the National Basketball Association for the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. The 2.01 meter tall Mason played the small forward and power forward positions. Mason was drafted 53rd in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers but was not included in the roster
Instead, Mason first played in Turkey. He soon returned to the US but played no role in either the Nets or the Nuggets. His breakthrough came in 1991 when coach guru Pat Riley brought him to the New York Knicks. Mason established himself as a valuable “bench” player who had over 25 minutes of play per game and came to 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Although Mason was, strictly speaking, too slow for the small forward position and too small for the power forward position, he made up for it with his skill and hard defense. Under Riley, Mason became a “crowd pleaser” and made headlines by often shaving logos and messages into his hair. In 1995, he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
In 1996, Mason was traded to the Charlotte Hornets and had his best years there. In 1997, he was even voted into both the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, as well as in the All-NBA Third Team. In 2001, while playing for Miami, he was selected to play in an NBA All-Star game.
Following a severe heart attack in early February 2015, Anthony Mason was admitted to the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan’s New York City District. There, heart failure was diagnosed. Despite several operations, he did not recover. In the early morning of February 28, 2015, he died at the age of 48.
Bruce Bowen wrote on Twitter on his death: “One of the toughest workers, who was not afraid of anything and nobody, has played his last minute, rest in peace, Anthony Mason, it was an honor to be your teammate.“