UPDATE: Here is a full statement from Anthony Mason Jr. released on Saturday:

“My family and I appreciate everyone’s support this week, and we are grateful for all of the prayers and well-wishes for our father, Anthony Mason. Our father is now in stable condition and continues to receive expert medical care here in New York as he recovers from his medical procedures. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.”


 

Former New Jersey Net, Anthony Mason is “literally fighting for his life” due to a serious congestive heart ailment. This story was broken by NBA writer, Peter Vecsey. Numerous NBA sources including ESPN.com has confirmed the story. It is reported that the issues have been going on for the last year. Adding to the problem is that Mason’s weight has gotten as high as 350 pounds which is approaching 100 pounds above his playing weight.

Anthony Mason, now 48 years old, suffered a heart attack and has reportedly four heart surgeries at a New York hospital.

Anthony Mason played for six teams in his 13 year career which included the Nets when the franchise was in New Jersey in the 1989-90 season. In that season, he averaged only 1.8 points per game in 21 games.

The coming out party for Anthony Mason was when he teamed up with Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley to form a dominant (not to mention scary) front line for the New York Knicks under the tutelage of Pat Riley. It was in New York that Mason won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1995. Riley trusted Mason’s hard-nosed play enough to play him as a sixth man even though he was almost a “walk-on” when he was invited for a tryout. In 1997, Mason was named to the All-NBA third team and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He also made the All-Star team in 2001.

What made Anthony Mason admirable to many was the way he made it to the NBA. The road was hard, it was long and it was most importantly…earned! In the day and age where many basketball pundits believe that NBA players are spoiled rich guys that complain all the time, Mason is not on this list.

After being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers out of Tennessee State University in the third round, Mason was cut. Then he went on a Globetrotting tour that the would have impressed the real Harlem team. He played for the Efes Pilsen basketball team in Turkey. Then it was off to Marinos de Oriente in Venezuela. Then Mason spent time in the CBA and the USBL. If you don’t think Anthony Mason was a hungry basketball player, check this out…he played 26 games for the CZbA’s Tulsa Fast Breakers for a year. (Yeah I know…I never heard of them either!)

Anthony Mason was the blueprint player for the style of play that Pat Riley wanted to play in New York. You have to remember that a lot of fans were very surprised at the rough and rugged style of play Riley implemented in New York after the “Showtime” years in Los Angeles. Mason helped the New York Knicks push the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in their first three peat years. When Jordan retired to chase curve balls in minor league baseball, Mason helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals in 1994 for the first time since 1973. However, they lost the Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon in seven games.

A lot of times, you hear people calling people a “beast” such as Marshawn Lynch. Anthony Mason was REALLY a beast. In his prime playing days, Anthony Mason was 6’7 260 pounds of rock solid muscle. His defense was so imposing he gave himself the name “Locksmith”. But he had game on the offensive side of the ball as well. Numerous times in New York and eventually in Charlotte, he could be inserted as a point forward because of his prowess as a passer. How tough was he? The Charlotte franchise built a marketing campaign of toughness based around Mason called “Hard Ball” after getting him in a trade for Larry Johnson in 1996.

Anthony Mason is cult figure in New York. His style of play always endeared himself to Knicks fans. Now prayers go out to him and his family. Keep it locked to Brooklyn’s Finest for updates on Anthony Mason’s condition.


 

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