Over the years, the slam dunk has become one of the reasons why fans watch NBA games, and many players have made quite a name for themselves by being exceptional at it.
Legends like Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins paved the way, but in the 2000s, an array of NBA youngsters raised the bar in dunking. One of them was former Seattle Supersonics shooting guard and 2001 NBA Slam Dunk contest winner Desmond Mason.
From an artistic dunker to a legitimate artist
During his playing years, Mason was not the backcourt guard with a score-first mentality, but he could definitely throw the basketball down. He may not be the flashiest shooting guard back then, but “D-Mase” showed his artistry through his electrifying dunks.
As it turned out, that shouldn’t come as a surprise as Mason said that though his passion was basketball, he has always had the artist in him.
“Art has always been something that I cherished,” Mason told Small Business Journal in 2019. “Even during my career in the NBA I was always drawing something on the bus while others were playing on their X-box.”
Make the most out of the league
Mason was never an NBA All-Star, but he had his fair share of the spotlight during his time. And he was able to utilize it as he pursued a career as a professional artist.
Currently, Mason has found a new lease on life as a successful visionary artist. His abstract paintings have been exhibited in art shows, and he now has famous celebrities such as George Clooney as his clientele. On top of that, Mason also works with MLB legend and businessman Alex Rodriguez on some projects.
Needless to say, Mason’s NBA career played a huge role in building his brand and network. He wants young NBA players to be able to do the same and “strike the iron while it’s hot.”
“It’s not only about learning to dribble and making the shot,” Mason pointed out. “You’ve got to be conscious of your future and start working to build your brand from the moment you start your career. Especially today with the ability to build a personal brand with social media, use every shot you take as a way to score for your team and at the same time build your brand for the future.”
Indeed, Mason was right. The NBA could be a great platform of opportunity to stabilize a career after and outside basketball if you put your mind to it.