The 13-year NBA veteran, who played for six teams, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month and underwent multiple heart surgeries.
“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., told ESPN on 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.”
The power forward played college basketball at Tennessee State before being selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the third round of the 1988 NBA draft. He was released shortly after and went on to play in Turkey and Venezuela.
Mason later returned to the U.S. to play for the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks. However, he was most famous for his five seasons with the Knicks, whom he helped reach the 1994 NBA Finals.
A fan favorite, Mason was also known for his unique hair art, which often featured messages.
“Anthony was a multifaceted individual,” his longtime agent Don Cronson told ESPN. “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.”