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Anthony Mason 1966--2015

March 09, 2015
March 09, 2015

Table of Contents
March 9, 2015

SI NOW
GOLF PLUS
  • With his hands all over the Ryder Cup and flashes of brilliant play at the Honda, Phil Mickelson proved that even at 44 he's about more than winning majors. And spurred by the young guns, he just might have the game to contend for years

INBOX
SPECIAL REPORT
  • College basketball is facing a crisis. The combination of physical play and a plodding pace has created a game that stinks to watch. The solution? Changes to the rules—and to the committee that makes them

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
  • After the curtain descended on UCLA's majestic run, it rose on an Indiana team whose muscular style became the blueprint for success. The sport hasn't been the same since

PRO BASKETBALL
COLLEGE SPORTS
  • THE CASES OF SEVERAL HIGH-PROFILE ATHLETES ARE REMINDERS THAT SEXUAL ASSAULT IS A TOO-FREQUENT PROBLEM ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES. A NEW FILM SHINES LIGHT ON THE SCOURGE AND ON THOSE WHO SUFFER IN THE DARK

AARON LEVI
  • Boasting about his sexual encounters, Wilt Chamberlain said there would never be any "little Wilties." That may not have been true, as adoptee Aaron Levi found in his quest to locate his biological parents

POINT AFTER
Departments

Anthony Mason 1966--2015

I GOT THE text from my son while riding the subway Saturday morning: "You have to find the time to write about Mase." I was on the 2 train, and I would soon pull into Penn Station and be under Madison Square Garden before barreling on to my destination. That seemed appropriate.

This is an article from the March 9, 2015 issue Original Layout

Anthony Mason has gotten to his destination, at 48, years before he should have. And I know why my son thought news of his death from heart failure would hit me hard. For one thing, I'm 48 too. For another, Mase meant something to me. He embodied so many ideals I hold in high regard—like channeling inner strength to chase an impossible dream, working with focus to deny the naysayers and making everyone around you better.

Mase was also a symbol of New York's toughness in the 1990s. When he walked onto the basketball court with Patrick Ewing, John Starks and the rest, they were not going to walk off until they had given their entire bodies to the cause. I sat up close in those years, as a basketball-obsessed season-ticket holder, so I saw and felt the sweat equity they put into playing the game.

Knicks fans are a funny group. When we grouse about the current roster, we often compare it with the teams we're most proud of, the champs of 1970 and '73. After that, it's always Bernard. Then Mason and Starks. We still care about them. A lot. Because those guys cared about us and tried, with everything they had, to win for us.

At the beginning of this season I decided to boycott the Knicks. I haven't watched the games. And I promised myself I wouldn't write one word about them. Because they're not worth it.

But Anthony Mason is.

So thanks, Mase. None of us who watched you play, who wondered aloud how such a hard man could have such a soft touch, will ever forget what we saw you do. For us. Rest in peace, big.

PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MASON)