Anthony Mason served as the gritty epitome of Pat Riley’s mid-1990s Knicks — a fan favorite prized for both style and substance on the Madison Square Garden floor.
The pugnacious power forward with the sculpted body and iron will died early Saturday at the age of 48. The kid from Queens, who became an unlikely hero just across the East River, never recovered from a massive Feb. 11 heart attack.
“As you all would expect, our father — Big Mase — put up an incredible fight, dealing with severe heart issues,” read a message from his son Anthony Jr. “Overnight, New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother…but more than anything, our father Anthony Mason.”
The 6-foot-7 Mason, who packed on 100 pounds over his 250-pound playing weight following his 2003 retirement, remained a frequent figure at Knicks practices and games.