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Anthony Mason, a longtime NBA player who helped the New York Knicks reach the 1994 NBA Finals, has died at the age of 48.
A Knicks spokesperson confirmed to ESPN that Mason died early Saturday morning. The 13-year NBA veteran had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month.
"First I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciates it," his son, Anthony Mason Jr., said Saturday. "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 issue. 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."

Brad Mangin/NBAE/Getty ImagesAnthony Mason played parts of 13 seasons in the NBA and was a key member of the 1993-94 Knicks team that reached the NBA Finals.

Mason's other son Antoine, a senior basketball player at Auburn, had said earlier this week that his father was "getting better" following multiple heart surgeries.
Mason played for six teams but was best remembered for his five-year tenure with the Knicks. Mason's bruising, physical play epitomized then-coach Pat Riley's Knicks teams. The 6-foot-7 forward became a fan favorite for his physical play and also drew attention for the creative artwork and messages that he had carved in his hair cuts.
Mason teamed with Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks to help the Knicks win the Eastern Conference in 1994 and reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games.
"My heart is heavy after learning that we lost Anthony Mason last night," Ewing said in a statement. "We were teammates on the Knicks for five great seasons. Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together.
"I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace."
Mason won the NBA's Sixth Man Award in 1994-95 as a member of the Knicks. He also played with the Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat following his stint with the Knicks.
"Anthony was a multifaceted individual," his longtime agent Don Cronson told ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor. "There were many aspects to his personality, and some that people weren't aware of. In the best sense of the term he was a momma's boy. From the day I met him he was always thinking of his mom and taking care of her. As rough and tough as he was, Anthony was also a doting father, and I saw that many times.
"Anthony willed himself into the NBA, and very few players can do that. Any NBA team could've had him for a nickel, and he turned out to be the perfect Pat Riley player. I think Pat saw a lot of himself in Anthony, and really they were the same guy. That's why they butted heads as often as they did. They were both blue-collar guys and fighters. Anthony told me, 'Pat Riley was the one who gave me my chance. He's the one who saw something in me when nobody else did.'"
Mason was reunited with Riley later in his career while playing for Miami, where he was named to his one and only All-Star team in 2001.
Mason's career is a story of perseverance.
After playing high school basketball at Springfield Gardens in Queens and college basketball at Tennessee State University, Mason was selected in the third round of the 1988 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, who waived him shortly thereafter.
Mason then played in Turkey and Venezuela before joining the then-New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets for short stints. He also played in the USBL and CBA.
Mason found a permanent home with the Knicks in 1991 after receiving an invite to play on the organization's summer league team.
Riley appreciated Mason's intense, physical approach and kept him on the roster, beginning a run that would end with Mason leaving an indelible mark on the Knicks organization and its fan base.

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Comment by Cee Gee on March 2, 2015 at 6:41am

Condolences to the family.  RIP

Comment by Bruce Llewellyn Alleyne on March 1, 2015 at 12:53am

RIP Mase........we'll miss ya

Comment by Tyrone Champion on February 28, 2015 at 11:52pm
RIP,A.M. your what the Knicks are about!!!
Comment by Rayvon on February 28, 2015 at 10:47pm
R.I.P
Comment by Julie on February 28, 2015 at 10:20pm
May you rest in peace big Mason you left your print in the heart of your family and every basketball fans everywhere. You'll be missed and May God bless your children and guide them in their path in their lives, and keep your legacy alive by following the path you've laid down for them. God bless
Comment by PIERRE "PEANUT" WALKER on February 28, 2015 at 10:13pm
CONDOLENCES! WILL NEVER FORGET YOUR INTERVIEW A YEAR OR TWO AGO ON 93.5FM AND YOU SPOKE THE TRUTH! I WONDER IF THE KNICKS ORGANIZATION WILL DO ANYTHING IN HIS HONOR! JAH BLESS MY BROTHER.............GOT TO SEE YOU BEFORE YOU LEFT THE BODY!
Comment by serges victorino on February 28, 2015 at 8:01pm
Rest in peace my brother I remember the days with you a knick .we will miss you gone too soon
Comment by Mr. Johnson on February 28, 2015 at 7:46pm

R.I.P. Anthony Mason. Black Warrior.

Comment by Roots aka TJ What De Ras on February 28, 2015 at 7:23pm
Cool dude gone. The hood gonna miss you.
Comment by CARIBBEAN QUEEN on February 28, 2015 at 7:10pm

HEART FAILURE!!!!!!, I'M FREAKING EATING RIGHT...

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