NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State men’s basketball legend Anthony Mason passed away due to heart complications, Saturday, at the age of 48.
Mason played for Tennessee State University from 1985-88 and left as the school’s fifth all-time leading scorer with 2,076 points. The Miami, Fla. native also tallied 894 career rebounds, ranking him sixth in the school’s record book.
The forward was so dominant down-low during the 1987-88 season that he was fouled and put on the line a TSU record 247 times, making 191.
After becoming the school’s first All-Ohio Valley Conference Player in 1988, Mason was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the third round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He went on to play with the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, averaging 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in his 13-year NBA career.
Mason blossomed in New York, leading his team to the Finals in 1994 and winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 1995. He was named to the 1996-’97 All-NBA Third Team and to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He led the league in minutes played in 1995-’96 (3,457), also setting a Knicks record with the number.
Mason’s oldest son, Anthony Jr., played for St. John’s while his other son, Antoine, plays at Auburn after transferring from Niagara.
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT GLENDA GLOVER
Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover issued the following statement on the passing of basketball standout Anthony Mason, an alum and former Knicks favorite.
The Tennessee State University family is saddened over the loss of alumnus Anthony Mason. We send our condolences to the Mason family during this difficult time and will keep them in our prayers.
Anthony was a basketball standout during his time here at TSU and was key in helping our program have a successful transition into the Ohio Valley Conference. His hallmark defense and tenacity on the court embodied the spirit and winning legacy of TSU's storied Athletics Program and undoubtably led to his selection as NBA Sixth Man of the Year as a player with the New York Knicks in 1994.
We cheered and beamed with pride at his success at TSU and during his 13 year career in the NBA. Now, we will stand by his family in their time of need and remember Anthony as an exceptional athlete, loving husband, devoted father, and always as a part of the Tennessee State University Family.