Anthony Mason Anthony Mason

Former New York Knicks player Anthony Mason has died, ESPN reports. He was 48.

Mason died Saturday from congestive heart failure, with which he was diagnosed earlier this month.

"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., said 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."

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After playing college basketball for Tennessee State University, Mason was selected during the third round of the 1988 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, but was cut shortly after. He went on to play abroad before returning to the U.S. and joining the New Jersey Nets. In 1991, Mason landed with the Knicks and the forward helped the team reach the NBA finals in 1994. He won the Sixth Man Award in the 1994-95 season. Mason retired in 2003 as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.

"My heart is heavy after learning that we lost Anthony Mason last night," his former teammate Patrick Ewing said in a statement. "We were teammates on the Knicks for five great seasons. Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together. I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace."

Said his longtime agent Don Cronson: "Anthony was a multifaceted individual. 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. As rough and tough as he was, Anthony was also a doting father, and I saw that many times. I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace."