Former New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason, who died on Saturday at the age of 48, talked about how his business ventures were doing in New York City as well as the legacy he left on others during his time at the NBA.
According to Frank Isola of New York Daily News, Mason, a New York City native hailing from Queens, had a massive heart attack on Feb. 11; he was unable to recover from that event. His son, Anthony Mason Jr., posted a message about his father's passing.
"As you all would expect, our father - Big Mase - put up an incredible fight, dealing with severe heart issues," his son wrote. "Overnight, New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother...but more than anything, our father Anthony Mason."
Former Knicks teammates Charles Oakley and Patrick Ewing recalled how they were able to dominate the basketball court in the 1990s, despite the fact their squad lost in the 1994 NBA Finals.
"Mase was a fighter," Oakley said. "I just wish he could have had one more round. It's a real tough time."
Isola noted that Ewing echoed the same sentiment that Mason was a force to reckon with in the NBA.
"Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together," Ewing said. "I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance."
Isola reported that in addition to playing for the Knicks for five years, Mason's 13-year NBA career also took him to Charlotte, Denver, Miami, Milwaukee and New Jersey. The fans loved him for being quirky, most notably advertising himself with "MASE" cut into his hair.
"At various other times, he sported a Knicks logo and a religious message: "In God's Hands," Isola wrote.
In a video posted back in January that would turn out to be one of his final interviews, Gospel Herald reporter Darrel Johnson talked to the former NBA All-Star about how he was adjusting to life beyond the NBA. Johnson first asked him what his New Year resolutions were for 2015.
"Take life as it comes," Mason said. "Take your blessings; stop blocking your blessings, and being mad at things that you can't control and just living life easy."
Mason added that savored spending time with his children and family. Johnson then turned the focus to Mason's business ventures with fellow Knicks player John Starks, one of which involved pizza.
"[We] have a pizza restaurant in Harlem that's doing very well," Mason said, adding that he was in several other business ventures with Starks. "[If] you put John's name or my name on anything in New York, I think it would do well. Plus, I've been in the insurance business for three years."
Johnson then asked Mason on who approached the NBA star in regards to making better decisions from a financial standpoint. Johnson commented in his opinion that professional athletes definitely needed some financial advice.
"My agent was great at it," Mason said. "I didn't listen. I was like, 'yeah, whatever.'"
Mason added that he went through a rough financial patch during his NBA career. However, he was able to get it together when he ventured into the insurance business.
"The blessing that I have is that I'm marketable," Mason said. "When I got into my insurance business, a lot of New York fans, a lot of people opening doors for me, and my business have taken off."
The NBA star also had some savvy financial advice directed at his fellow NBA players.
"I'm a story that doesn't happen all the time," Mason said. "My advice is before you even think about doing something with your money, become a good person. Be a personality. Be somebody that people want to deal with after your career."
Mason added that one may have to count on those same people later on in life, noting how his influence reached impressionable young people who later made something of themselves.
"Just be a good person, because you never know how that will come back around," Mason said. "That's my advice even before worrying what to do with your money."
In his final question, Johnson asked Mason on his thoughts about the current season of the Knicks.
"I was at the opening game," Mason said. "What I always liked about playing in the CBA and NBA is that those guys are hungry. They want opportunity, so [there will be] competitiveness every night. If you're a New York fan or you know basketball, that's what you want to see. You want to see people diving and going hard to try to get to the next level. I enjoyed it."
Isola reported that Mason is survived by his two sons, who have gone on to play basketball at the college level, and his 90-year-old mother, Mary.