8. SF/PF Anthony Mason, Tennessee State University
At 6-foot-7 and weighing 250 pounds, Mason, a native of Queens, New York, was a prototypical specimen of an NBA power forward. But his game was anything but typical.
Mason averaged 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists per game as a senior at Tennessee State. His was an arduous journey toward stardom that saw him taken in the 3rd round of the NBA draft with the 53rd overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers, who cut him.
He would play overseas and in the CBA before finding a home with the New York Knicks. His versatility, for a man of his size and muscular build, as a ball-handler, facilitator, passer, rebounder, defender and scorer, was exceptional.
A favorite among Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden, “Mase In Your Face” was a NBA All-Star in 2001, All-NBA Third Team in 1997, NBA All-Defense Second Team the same year and NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1995.
His best statistical year was in 1997, when he averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and nearly six assists per game for the Charlotte Hornets.
Anthony Mason died of a massive heart attack on February 28, 2015. He was 48 years old.
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