Former New York Knicks forward, Anthony Mason, passed away at the age of 48 on the 27th February, 2015. Mason had a history of heart issues and required many surgeries. Two weeks prior to his death Mason was hospitalized and was said to be improving but he sadly didn’t make it.
To my fellow Knicks fans,
I am writing to you today in the hope that you’ll support our petition for the New York Knicks to retire the number 14 jersey at the conclusion of this season or prior to the beginning of nest season, to honor the recent passing of Anthony Mason, a.k.a Mase.
New York is a special place in the basketball world. It is often referred to as the Mecca of basketball. The world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, houses the loyalist of all fans and the stars of the world. New York City is the grandest stage and this is the place where you want to make a name for yourself.
Unlike other teams in other cities, it doesn’t matter how long you’re a part of the Knicks. If wear your heart on your sleeve and the do the dirty work night in, and night out, it doesn’t take Knick fans all that long to admire and appreciate your presence. For some of the more storied players in the history of this league it took some their whole career to leave, and carve out, a legacy, but that’s not this case in the Big Apple.
**If you’d like to skip the reading and sign the petition, it’s at the bottom of the page.**
Here’s why the Knicks should hang Mason’s number from the rafters in the Garden.
Hustle and Muscle:
In the 1990s the Knicks were one of the more physical teams in the NBA and Mason was at the heart of that. Mason was the definition of Walt Frazier’s saying ‘hustle and muscle. Mason wore his heart on his sleeve every time he stepped out onto the basketball court. The former third round pick was the player that crashed both the offensive and defensive glass, the player to never give up an easy bucket, the player to dive for every lose ball in an attempt to get his team another possession. But, most importantly, Mason had the back’s of all his teammates, he was right beside them when a fight broke out. He was the garbage collector, the one doing the dirty work.
Mason was a third round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1989, but he was released shortly after. He signed a contract with the New Jersey Nets but after playing in 21 games, Mason was waived. The next step of his journey was the Denver Nuggets where he signed two 10-day contracts but appeared in three games before being released.
Mason went from playing 24 games over two years to playing 27 minutes per game in all 82 games of the 1991-92 season. If that isn’t hard work I don’t know what is. Mason wasn’t satisfied and he continued to improve in all facets becoming on of the few in the first wave of point-forwards. As a Knick he averaged close to four assists a game
Not only did his general play improve out of sight, but Mason earned the reputation of having the NBA’s biggest motor. Over the course of the 1995-96 season Mason logged over 42 minutes per game which led the NBA. It’s truly incredible for someone who played a physical, hard-nosed, relentless style of basketball could withstand 42 minutes a night.
Mason wasn’t a flashy player, he was more of a scrapper. Like what was said above, Mason was relentless on the boards and he relished the challenge of defending a larger opponent, he never backed down from anybody. The Knicks where a physical team and Mason was the heart and sole of that. He was the one that constantly went diving into the stands for a lose ball or the one to have floor burn every single night.
Mason was a huge frame and he loved using his size to set levelling picks and to take his teammates’ opponent out of the play. For someone who played as a power forward for a majority of his career Mason wasn’t phased when he was assigned to defending a smaller, quicker player, in truth it was one of the things Mason loved doing. It was an opportunity to make the opposition embarrassed. Rebounding, helping teammates, diving for everything, levelling opponents, guarding every position makes up the dirty work Mason relished.
Definition of the ’90’s Knicks:
The New York Knicks where a force to be reckoned with in regards to physicality. The Knicks never gave up easy buckets and they don’t make it easy to even get off a shot (hard fouls). New York was a scrapping team, they didn’t play with style and it wasn’t pretty play, Mason was the leader when it came to this. The Knicks regularly got into fully fledged fights and Mason was right there in the thick of it every single time regardless of the situation and what the consequences may be. These weren’t just his teammates, they were family to Mason.
The Knicks didn’t allow for uncontested buckets and Mason well and truly knew how to use his six personal fouls. These fouls were said to be dirty but all Mason said was that it was to simply stop them from scoring. The physical and relentless style that the Knicks played with made them one of the more disliked teams in the NBA, but Mason loved every second of it. He wanted the world to know that you’re entering a dog-fight out on the hardwood.
When you think of the ’90’s Knicks ,Anthony Mason instantly comes to mind.
A Summary of Mason’s Career
Anthony Mase spent just five seasons with the New York Knicks but that was his longest tenure with any of the six teams he played. Mason signed with the Knicks in 1991 after appearing in only 24 games in his rookie and sophomore seasons. Mason appeared in all 82 games in his first season as a Knick – goes to show his incredible work ethic and desire to improve – posting 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Mason continued to work his behind off which led to him winning the 1994-95 NBA Sixth man of the Year award. In his final season in New York Mason appeared and started in all 82 games. He posted 14.6 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game, 4.4 assists per game on 56% shooting from the field and 72% on the charity stripe. Mason was traded in the summer of 1996 for Larry Johnson.
Following the trade to Charlotte, Mason had arguably his best season, averaging 16.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game throughout the 96-97 season. In 2001, as a member of the Miami Heat, Mason was selected as an All-Star after producing 16.1 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game. Mason decided to hang it up in 2003 after being waived by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Anthony Mason left a truly unique legacy. He always backed-up his teammates and did the things that no-one else wanted to do. His passion, desire and will out in the court is unmatched. Basketball was more than a game to him, it was his love and Mase would do anything he could to help his team. Mason’s never back down attitude has enshrined his name in the memories of not only many Knicks’ fans but fans of the NBA as a whole.
To sign the petition, click here.