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.

NBA Finals feature great players, role model fathers

Miami Heat players (l - r) Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade stand during the Pledge of Allegiance with their children prior to a home game.

Miami Heat players (l – r) Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade stand during the Pledge of Allegiance with their children prior to a home game.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA Finals are tied 1 – 1 as the series heads to Miami for the pivotal game 3. The star players in this series have garnered a great deal of praise for their play en route to the championship. As Father’s Day approaches, this writer wants to acknowledge the excellence these players have also displayed in raising their children.

LeBron James has been public with his affection for his sons, LeBron Jr. (r) and Bryce (l) , including them in commercials and featuring them in social media consistently.

LeBron James has been public with his affection for his sons, LeBron Jr. (r) and Bryce (l) , including them in commercials and featuring them in social media consistently.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are not only known for their excellence on the court, but for how frequently they share, show, and discuss their children. James has had his sons LeBron, Jr. and Bryce, featured prominently on his social media accounts as well as featured in commercials with him. James has made it clear that his father’s absence in his life motivates him. James, sharing on Instagram, said: “Like, Wow, Dad, you know what, I don’t know you, I have no idea who you are, but because of you is part of the reason I am [the person I am] today.”

Tim Duncan sits on the bench before game 1 of this year's NBA Finals with daughter Sydney and son

Tim Duncan sits on the bench before game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals with daughter Sydney and son Draven.

The Spurs are not lead by a public star who is featured in many commercials, rather, Tim Duncan is known for his stoic demeanor and exceptional basketball skills. Though Duncan keeps much more of his life private than James does, he also exhibits a tight bond with his children Sydney and Draven. Duncan has not made many public statements about his personal life, but he makes it clear that he wants to have his children around him whenever possible.

Dwyane Wade with his two oldest sons, Zaire (l) and Zion (r).

Dwyane Wade with his two oldest sons, Zaire (l) and Zion (r).

The Heat’s Dwyane Wade can echo Duncan’s sentiments for privacy after a marriage ends as Wade went through a very publicized custody battle with his ex-wife and mother of his two sons Zaire and Zion. Wade was awarded full custody of his sons in 2011 and stated after hearing the news: “For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes.” Wade recently had a third son, Xavier, in 2013, and maintains that fatherhood is the most important part of his life.

A photograph of Ginobili holding his younger twins Dante and Nicola.

A photograph of Ginobili holding his younger twins Dante and Nicola.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Manu Ginobili has had a recent addition to his family. Shortly after the first game in this year’s playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Ginobili’s wife gave birth to the couple’s third son, Luca. Ginobili did not have much time to rest after the birth, heading directly to practice from the hospital. He seemed moved by the experience, sharing with reporters: “I think the baby thing is very unique…When I saw the head for the first time, it’s hard to contain tears and stuff. It’s an incredible moment.” Ginobili is now a father of three sons, with Luca joining twins Dante and Nicola.

The San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich (l) is viewed in a patriarchal role for the organization. The same can be said for the Heat organization and Pat Riley (r).

The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (l) is viewed in a patriarchal role by the organization. The same can be said for the Heat organization and Pat Riley (r).

These are just a few of the great fathers in the NBA and in professional sports. It seems as if the NBA organizations that made it to the Finals have gone to great lengths to create a family-like atmosphere that encompasses some wonderful role models. The patriarchal figures for each organization, Pat Riley for the Heat and Gregg Popovich for the Spurs, appear to emphasize strength of character as much as they preach about strength of body. As Father’s Day nears, let us recognize the positive examples of fatherhood being put forth during the NBA Finals this year.–OnPointPress.net–

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

Have the New York Knicks learned from the Pat Riley saga?

The Knicks seemed poised to bring New York a championship in the 90's with the pairing of Pat Riley (l) and Patrick Ewing (r).

The Knicks seemed poised to bring New York a championship in the 90’s with the pairing of Pat Riley (l) and Patrick Ewing (r).

By Charles Glover Jr.

With rumors swirling that Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is considering a front office position with, the New York Knicks, the team he once won a championship with as a player, the question that comes to mind is, can even he save this team? The Knicks’ franchise has a tortured recent history of mishaps and missteps that traces all the way back to 1995 when then head coach Pat Riley wanted final control over personnel matters. While it wasn’t clear at the time, the Knicks should have given in to his request.

Pat Riley is the only person in the 3 major sports to win a championship as a player, coach and an executive.

Pat Riley is the only person in the 3 major sports to win a championship as a player, coach and an executive.

The immediate aftermath of Riley’s acrimonious departure was actually favorable for the Knicks. The Miami Heat, where Riley signed on the day after turning down the Knicks contract extension offer, were found guilty of tampering and the Knicks would consistently get the better of the Heat in the several times the teams would meet in the playoffs between 1996 and 2001. However, the takeaway from Riley’s early tenure is that the Heat became immediate championship contenders shortly after his arrival as a head coach/president of operations. Meanwhile, the Knicks’ post-Riley experience peaked in 1999 with an upset of the Heat, with the Knicks as a #8 seed, and another unsuccessful trip to the NBA Finals. When Riley stepped down as head coach of the Heat in 2004 after a string of disappointing seasons, it was the beginning of a successful stretch of executive moves.

Riley is hoping to be at the helm of a 4th championship for the Miami Heat.

Riley is hoping to be at the helm of a 4th championship for the Miami Heat.

Riley has made some smart decisions in the NBA Draft, taking players like Eddie House, Caron Butler, Dwayne Wade, and Mario Chalmers, all players that have helped the Heat teams win championships. Riley is more known for his ability to attract free agents and make significant trades. In 1996, Riley traded for Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, then signed key free agents like Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, and Dan Majerle over the next couple of seasons to make that team a championship contender. In 2004, Riley signed Lamar Odom, then used him in a trade, along with a draft pick, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant, to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Riley will forever be linked to successfully convincing LeBron James to take his “talents to South Beach” when James, Wade, and Chris Bosh all joined forces in the summer of 2010. The signing of Ray Allen proved that Riley possesses the ability to convince high quality players that championships can be had if they join his team.

Will Phil Jackson become as legendary as an executive as he is a coach?

Will Phil Jackson become as legendary as an executive as he is a coach?

As Knicks fans jump for joy with the possibility of Phil Jackson taking over as president of basketball operations, there is a lesson to be learned from the Riley saga. As successful as Riley has been with the Heat, it took him 10 years to bring that franchise a championship. It took another six years and the best player in the NBA to win the second championship. There’s no doubt that the Knicks would have to be better with Jackson at the helm, as long as James Dolan stays completely out-of-the-way.

But, if Jackson’s goal is to bring a championship to New York, that does not seem to be on the way any time soon, based on NBA trends. So Knicks fans should temper their expectations regarding Jackson’s final decision and ask this question instead: Have the Knicks really learned from the Pat Riley saga, or is this just more of the same, with a so-called executive in charge on paper and Dolan meddling as usual behind the scenes?.–OnPointPress.net–

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