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Rest In Peace to Former Knicks and Hornets' Forward Anthony Mason

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NBA vet Anthony Mason, father of D-League alum Anthony Mason Jr., passed away on Saturday morning.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of former Sioux Falls Skyforce swingman Anthony Mason Jr., whose father, NBA vet Anthony Mason, passed away at 48 on Saturday after suffering a heart attack earlier this month.

Though Mason obviously never played in the NBA D-League, he was the type of underdog the minor league has come to know and love. He fought hard, hustled his butt off, and gave the kind of effort such aspiring big league prospects can only hope to give night in and night out. Off the court, he was an appreciative and personable veteran who continued to be grateful for the type of fandom he received, even long after his playing days.

The legacy he leaves as a player is the type we all recognize as someone who gives it their all and does all of the little things necessary (even the dirty work, so to speak), in order to help his team win. Mason was always ready to do whatever it took.

In thirteen NBA seasons, Mason averaged 10.9 points (on 51% shooting) and 8.3 rebounds. He was a fan-favorite for teams like the Knicks, Hornets, and others. His son and family released the following statements:

"First, I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciated it.

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 issues. 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.

I ask at this time that you respect our family's privacy with regard to questions as our family takes the time to mourn."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Anthony Mason 1966-2015 <a href="http://t.co/ktX7oDGjeT">pic.twitter.com/ktX7oDGjeT</a></p>&mdash; NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) <a href="https://twitter.com/NY_KnicksPR/status/571709524375166976">February 28, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Needless to say, the way he carried himself and chose to play the game influenced many of today's players, including some D-League alumni. Chuck Hayes tweeted the following as he remembered the veteran:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>My 1st coach Jeff van gundy showed me film on Anthony masons defense, telling me that&#39;s what he needed from me, Rest in Peace big fella</p>&mdash; chuck hayes (@c_hayes44) <a href="https://twitter.com/c_hayes44/status/571700926215426048">February 28, 2015</a></blockquote>

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