Former Knick, NBA star, Anthony Mason, remembered fondly in death

Anthony Mason passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 48.

Anthony Mason passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 48.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Saturday morning February 28, word spread about the passing of former NBA player Anthony Mason, weeks after he suffered a massive heart attack and underwent several surgeries. During his NBA career, Mason, 48, connected with fans, teammates, and competitors alike using a blend of power and agility in a stout 6’7 ‘ frame.

The versatile and rugged forward made his name as part of the New York Knicks in a career that spanned 13 years, starting in 1993. During his five seasons with the Knicks, Mason played alongside Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Charles Oakley and Derek Harper, making it all the way to the NBA Finals in 1994.

Mason (r) would play a vital role in helping Patrick Ewing (l) lead the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1994.

Mason (r) would play a vital role in helping Patrick Ewing (l) lead the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1994.

Former Knicks teammate Patrick Ewing, who is an assistant head coach with the Charlotte Bobcats, shared a statement on Saturday, reflecting on the feeling of sadness he feels as he mourns the death of his former teammate. Ewing said:
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Mason attended high school in Queens, New York so it was fitting that the Knicks would provide him with the opportunity to become a star. Pat Riley was the head coach of the Knicks at the time and would later sign Mason with the Miami Heat where Mason made his only All-Star appearance in 2001. Riley’s statement on Mason’s death was profound:

Mason would have his best individual season in 2001 for the Miami Heat, being named an All-Star that season.

Mason would have his best individual season in 2001 for the Miami Heat, being named an All-Star that season.

“News like this is not only sad, but it’s tragic. Anthony Mason was a very young man with a great family and friends. To lose him so quickly during his journey, especially to those of us that knew him, hurts. We had a great season in Miami experiencing Anthony as an All-Star with the HEAT, and I also had the privilege of coaching him for four years in New York, where he helped take us to the brink of a championship. There were so many great moments that we shared that I will never forget. Our prayers and sympathies are with his family. May God bless his soul,” Riley said.

The NBA honored Mason’s death and the Knicks held a moment of silence at Madison Square Garden before their game against the Raptors. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement outlining Mason’s character and passion for the game:

Mason will also be remembered for his unique haircuts.

Mason will also be remembered for his unique haircuts.

“Anthony Mason exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA. With a gritty style of play and a distinctive skill set, he blossomed from a third round draft pick into a Sixth Man Award winner, All-NBA selection and, at age 34, an All-Star. NBA fans and players around the league admired the tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Mason family during this difficult time,” Silver’s statement read.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced as the Mason family mourns. Mason’s sons, Antoine and Anthony Mason, Jr., both played basketball in college. Mason, Jr. played at St. John’s University in 2010 while Antoine is currently enrolled at Auburn University. Mason, Jr. released a statement on behalf of the family which read:
“First, I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciated it.

Mason's sons Anthony Mason, Jr. (l) and Antoine Mason (r) have followed in their father's footsteps as basketball players in their  own rights.

Mason’s sons Anthony Mason, Jr. (l) and Antoine Mason (r) have followed in their father’s footsteps as basketball players in their own rights.

“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 issues. 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.

“I ask at this time that you respect our family’s privacy with regard to questions as our family takes the time to mourn.”

Peace and blessings go out to the Mason family, friends and legion of fans who remember Mason’s hard work and fierce style of play that made him a joy to watch on the court..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

NCAA vs. NBA draft policy: Are changes needed? (Part II)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made it a priority to address the issue of raising the age limit from 19 to 20.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, holds up the name of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the NBA Draft Lottery. Silver  has made it a priority to address the issue of raising the age limit from 19 to 20.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is down to its final 4 teams vying for the NBA Championship for this season. Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the beginning of the next season as the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery, giving them the chance to pick first in the draft in consecutive years. While the draft lottery creates a modicum of suspense for NBA fans, the league would be better suited making major changes to the NBA Draft that would make the teams better for the long run, analysts say.

The advent of the NBA Draft Lottery was meant to be a deterrent to teams intentionally losing so that they could have the number one pick in the draft. The main impetus for the change was consecutive years where the Houston Rockets (1983 & 84) seemingly tanked in order to land two highly touted prospects, Ralph Sampson in 1983 and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984. The change was necessary but the overreaction to institute a draft lottery allowed for a routine in which the worst teams do not receive the best players.

The NBA Draft lottery was instituted after the Houston Rockets received the #1 pick in 1983 & '84 and used them to select Ralph Sampson (r) and Hakeem Olajuwon (l) respectively.

The NBA Draft lottery was instituted after the Houston Rockets received the #1 pick in 1983 & ’84 and used them to select Ralph Sampson (r) and Hakeem Olajuwon (l) respectively.

Contrasting this with the National Football League (NFL) model that aligns the top pick with worst record, with the exception of consecutive years, one can see why there tends to consistently be a problem with the distribution of talent in the NBA. The draft lottery system raises questions about the legitimacy of the process as conspiracy theories are constantly attached to this system. All of these issues make the questions about who should be eligible to be drafted seem minor, yet the age of the draftees continues to be an issue that’s front and center.

The hoopla surrounding this year’s draft class was focused on talented underclassmen like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Julius Randle. These young men were all freshmen when they declared for the draft. They are the latest in a consistent string of talented youngsters who spend just one year removed from their graduating high school class before declaring for the NBA draft, as is currently required by the NBA. Many are opposed to this ‘one and done’ rule in theory, yet there is more excitement surrounding this draft class than there has been in several years.

This year's draft class features highly touted freshmen  (l - r)  Jabari Parker, Joel Embid, Andrew Wiggins, and Julius Randle.

This year’s draft class features highly touted freshmen (l – r) Jabari Parker, Joel Embid, Andrew Wiggins, and Julius Randle.

Numerous opponents to the NBA’s ‘one and done’ rule make many unsubstantiated claims as to the certain improvement of the quality of the NCAA and NBA if the the rule goes away.

ESPN president John Skipper described the rule on age limits:

“The single worst violation of student-athlete relationships,” Skipper also said: “I have no quarrel with kids wanting to go play basketball. I think they should have to stay a couple or three years.”

ESPN President John Skipper is one of many who oppose the NBA one and done rule.

ESPN President John Skipper is one of many who oppose the NBA one and done rule.

Skipper is among the many who believe the indentured servitude that is collegiate sports is a better fit for the very athlete who will generate billions annually for televisions networks, advertisers, institutions, and franchises. Interestingly, Skipper is against these college players being paid.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has received greater attention from his handling of the Donald Sterling mess than for his initial agenda, which has been to change the ‘one and done’ rule.

“I’ve been a proponent of raising the age [limit] from 19 to 20 because I think it would make a better league,” announced Silver in a conference call with sports editors in April. With no data to back these assertions, Silver has repeatedly stated the importance of raising the age limit.

NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson supports the one and done rule and points out the exploitive nature of the NCAA.

NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson supports the one and done rule and points out the exploitive nature of the NCAA.

Inquiring minds should ask: What financial benefit would the league see if this were to occur? The simple answer is, without any other changes, an increase in the age limit would drastically reduce the average players’ earning potential. Players are far less likely to receive maximum contracts after the age of 30 and a change of the ‘one and done’ rule automatically pushes every player closer to 30 by the time of their second free agency contract. Meanwhile, there is no salary cap for coaches and executives.

As is stands, the millionaire executives paid to evaluate, draft, train, and coach the players have unlimited earning potential, with a longer period of time to do their job. However, players would have their earning potential limited and have to spend more of their physical prime playing for free. Many supporters of the ‘one and done’ rule think about current athletes and the luxurious lifestyle they are afforded.

The Cavaliers won the number one pick in the NBA draft with new General Manager David Griffin (l) receiving congratulations from Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum (r).

The Cavaliers won the number one pick in the NBA draft with new General Manager David Griffin (l) receiving congratulations from Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum (r).

They forget about the hundreds of athletes that came before them who were completely taken advantage of. They do not consider that these current NBA rules are already restrictive, considering how dependent the sport is on selling its superstars. NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson points out:

“Colleges are greedy, They want to keep them [kids] in school because it helps them – it helps the coach, it helps the winning percentage.”

The NCAA’s motive is clear, keeping talent that produces billions annually for as long as possible makes sense for business. However, the NBA seems to be confused by claiming to want to put the best product on the floor. But this year’s draft class illustrates that a great number of the best players available are 19, not 20 or older. So why wouldn’t the NBA want them? Actually they do. They just realize that so many of their executives are so poor at developing these youngsters when they come into the league that they hope to get more finished products. Unfortunately for them, there is no business immune to the pitfalls of poor management, which is the NBA’s biggest problem, not age limits as the league tries to suggest..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Silver schedules 2:00 p.m. press conference, sponsors flee Clippers

 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver (l) will address the public in a press conference on Tuesday while Kevin Johnson (r) continues to organize efforts on the players behalf.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver (l) will address the public in a press conference on Tuesday while Kevin Johnson (r) continues to organize efforts on the players behalf.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday, April 29, to address the alleged statements made by Donald Sterling and the firestorm of anger that the recordings have caused. There has already been noticeable fallout since the recordings, allegedly featuring the Los Angeles Clippers owner, surfaced this weekend. In addition to players making public statements and displays of solidarity, there has also been financial ramifications. Several major sponsors, including State Farm, Kia and CarMax have withdrawn their support from the team.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers expressed how difficult this period has been for his team but he is not sympathetic to his team's owner.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers expressed how difficult this period has been for his team but he is not sympathetic to his team’s owner.

A handful of owners have voiced their displeasure with the situation and appear to favor  Sterling’s removal. Additionally, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Mayor and the NBA Player’s Association’s special assistant, has expressed how serious the players are in seeing swift and harsh penalties levied against Sterling if the allegations are proven true. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke to the media on Monday and made it clear that he believes that it is Sterling’s voice on the recordings.

“Yeah, I think he said those things,” Rivers said, stating his feeling of “anger” and the rage felt by his players.  Commissioner Adam Silver will have a chance to show great leadership in this situation, beginning with the press conference on Tuesday.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Adam Silver must deliver stiff penalty to Clippers’ Sterling

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to announce a decision about a penalty for Donald Sterling in the  next few days.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to announce a decision about a penalty for Donald Sterling in the next few days.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

This week Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy created a stir when his idea of black people was captured on video. “Are they better off as slaves…or are they better off living off government subsidy?,” he asked about blacks. On Saturday, the world was reminded that racist attitudes come in different ways and from various levels. Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling found himself at the center of a controversy once a tape, allegedly of him making racist comments to his then-girlfriend, surfaced.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (r) sitting court side at a game with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano (l).

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (r) sitting court side at a game with then-girlfriend V. Stiviano (l).

The almost ten-minute tape recording was released on TMZ.com and captures Sterling urging then-girlfriend V. Stiviano to keep her associations with minorities private. The conversation, prompted by an Instagram photo of Stiviano and Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, has yet to be authenticated by the NBA. In a press conference on Saturday evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver was emotionless  in his evaluation of the Sterling situation. In a somber tone, Silver stated:

“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process…which is why I’m not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions.”

A small sample of the recording of the conversation between Sterling and Stiviano.

A small sample of the recording of the conversation between Sterling and Stiviano.

While Silver may be reticent to discuss potential sanctions against Sterling, it doesn’t change the fact that serious sanctions are in order once the recording is authenticated. Silver said: “We hope to have this [investigation] wrapped up in the next few days.” However, there is no real precedent for an issue of this manner. Typical punishments that commissioners mete out to executives like fines and suspensions will not have a significant impact in the long run for a multi-millionaire owner like Sterling.

The only suitable punishment in the eyes of many would be his removal as owner. Whether that happens or not, Silver needs to demonstrate that he is willing to lead the owners to come to the decision that illustrates the outrage the NBA shared about Sterling’s comments.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NBA buries All-Star Weekend, misses chance to increase fan base

The starters for the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed Thursday night.

The starters that were voted for the Eastern and Western Conference.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend started on Friday February 14, 2014 in the evening, one week later than in its heyday, in keeping with a trend that began in 2004. The consistent conflict with scheduling the festivities at the same time as Valentine’s Day is a missed opportunity for the NBA to promote its brightest stars. After all, even the most hardened basketball fans realize that Valentine’s Day must not compete with sports or anything else and when that day of romance falls on a weekend, all bets are off for sports.

By continuing to schedule the NBA All Star Weekend to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the NBA is demonstrating that it is unable to relate to its core fan base or that those in charge are cynical at best, or tone-deaf at worst.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is held in New Orleans this year.

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend is currently underway in New Orleans during Valentine’s Weekend.

All-Star Weekend is an excellent chance for the NBA to give the casual fan a glimpse at the best of what the league has to offer. Recent changes in the date of the All-Star Weekend festivities and the decision to broadcast the All-Star game live on Sunday night have detracted from what is usually an exciting time of the year for NBA fans. The 8:30 pm Sunday evening start time for the NBA All-Star game inhibits casual fans from tuning in to the game because numerous scripted shows with huge followings are routinely on at the same time. Additionally, the late start in the Eastern time zone makes it more difficult for the NBA to reach a wider demographic in terms of age range since the target audience may not be able to stay up late or potential viewers may have other plans for their late evening hours.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

The NBA had its greatest popularity when their best players (l-r) Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were seen in the All Star game on network TV on Sunday afternoons.

Simple tweaks to the NBA All-Star Weekend would go a long way towards the stated goal of the new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, to “bridge the popularity gap between the NBA and the National Football League (NFL).” Moving the All-Star Weekend back a week in February to the first weekend after the Super Bowl, where it was for decades, would help avoid the Valentine’s Day dilemma that many NBA fans face.

The NBA would also benefit from changing the NBA All-Star Game back to an afternoon game on network television on Sundays, as it was during its greatest period of popularity in the 1990’s. The earlier start time would allow all basketball fans, casual or die-hard, to tune in to see the best NBA players with far less competition on television at that time. The NBA would also reach a broader demographic that may not have cable or want to stay up late to watch the games.

With all that said, this NBA fan will continue to watch the best NBA players this Sunday in the All-Star game while being thankful that the DVR and low-level All-Star festivities on Friday night created no conflict in my home on Valentine’s Day.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training specialist. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.