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:
image

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.

Veteran’s Day holds a special place in the annals of NBA history for centers

(l - r) Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing all reached NBA milestones on November 11.

(l – r) Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing all reached NBA milestones on November 11.

By Charles Glover, Jr

On November 11, when Veteran’s Day is celebrated, three of the NBA’s best centers reached noticeable milestones. Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing, and Hakeem Olajuwon all had key accomplishments on that date in NBA history.

Shaquille O'Neal had a good start to his NBA career with a victory and a double-double.

Shaquille O’Neal had a good start to his NBA career with a victory and a double-double.

In 1992 on November 11, Shaquille O’Neal made his NBA debut for the Orlando Magic. In what would become an eventual Hall of Fame career, O’Neal would score 12 points to go along with 18 rebounds and three blocks in his first NBA action. The upstart Magic would go on to defeat the Miami Heat 110 to 100.

Hakeem Olajuwon was at the top of his game in 1995 when he reached a career milestone.

Hakeem Olajuwon was at the top of his game in 1995 when he reached a career milestone.

In 1995, Hakeem Olajuwon with help the Houston Rockets defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 119 297. Olajuwon what’s scored 21 points in the game, making him the ninth player in NBA history to score 20,000 points and have 10,000 rebounds in an NBA career.

Patrick Ewing was doing his best to keep the Knicks as a title contender when he reached his career milestone in 1996.

Patrick Ewing was doing his best to keep the Knicks as a title contender when he reached his career milestone in 1996.

In 1996, Patrick Ewing would help leave the New York Knicks to a 92 288 victory over the Orlando Magic. Patrick Ewing which score 24 points in that game. He would become the 23rd player in NBA history to score over 20,000 points in an NBA career in that game.–OnPointPress.net–

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

Happy 52nd Independence Day Jamaica, land we love!

Jubilant crowd at previous Jamaica Independence celebration at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jubilant crowd at previous Jamaica Independence celebration at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

By Carmen Glover

Kingston, Jamaica: On August 6, the picturesque island of Jamaica, known for late reggae icon Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley, delicious food, a lilting Caribbean accent and a cadre of fiercely proud and ambitious nationals, celebrates 52 years since the country gained it’s independence from the United Kingdom.

Jamaica's Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

The feeling of pride that infuses the hearts of Jamaicans at this time of the year is boundless. Many nationals, myself included, have flocked to the island to enjoy the Independence galas, festival song contest and other entertainment activities among family and friends.

Jamaica's Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Hon. Robert Dixon Pickersgill.

Jamaica’s Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Hon. Robert Dixon Pickersgill.

Jamaica has nurtured sons and daughters who have excelled on the national and international stage in just about every professional category imaginable. Among the Jamaican stalwarts who inspire a devoted following and interest in the country are former U.S.A. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Colin Powell; Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach and former Knick center Patrick Ewing; track stars Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

NBA Hall of Fame Center and current Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach Patrick Ewing.

NBA Hall of Fame Center and current Charlotte Hornets Assistant Head Coach Patrick Ewing.

Additionally, there is U.S.A.‎ Ambassador Susan Rice who boasts Jamaican heritage through her grandparents; entertainers and activists Sheryl Lee Ralph and Harry Belafonte; musicians Shaggy and Sean Paul and many more who span the professional spectrum.

Ambassador Susan Rice is the United States National Security Advisor.

Ambassador Susan Rice is the United States National Security Advisor.

While Jamaicans have a proud history of achievements, the country still has areas that need to be addressed in order to push the island forward to sustained growth and stability. For instance, the tendency that has recently been embraced of selling off national businesses to foreign investors is distressing and does not bode well for the nation.

Jamaican Independence postage stamp from 1962.

Jamaica Independence postage stamp from 1962.

Also, the incidence of crime, an issue which has plagued the island for decades, needs a feasible solution. The fact that the country is experiencing a drought since May, prompting the imposition of a water restriction by Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill, dampens the spirit a bit.

2013 World Athlete of the Year Award winners Usain Bolt (l) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (r).

2013 World Athlete of the Year Award winners Usain Bolt (l) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (r).

Nevertheless, these are exciting times for Jamaica as it ‎celebrates 52 years as an independent nation. The country’s motto “Out of Many, One People,” resonates deeply as the genuine warmth and passion of Jamaicans shine through from the moment a visitor or returning native lands on Jamaican soil.

Popular reggae singer and Grammy Award winner Shaggy is actively involved in social issues in Jamaica.

Popular reggae singer and Grammy Award winner Shaggy is actively involved in social issues in Jamaica.

In my case, being here for the Independence celebrations after a long time away evokes a flood of pleasant memories of a carefree childhood filled with summer excursions to the beach in Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. As I retrace those steps with my family, I am grateful to be home and proud as ever of my rich heritage. Happy Birthday Jamaica, land we love!–OnPointPress.net.

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.

 

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.