Funeral services held for former Knicks forward Anthony Mason

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Friday, March 6, 2015

JAMAICA, N.Y. (WABC) -- Family, friends and fans gathered in Queens Friday to bid a final farewell to a New York legend.

Public and private funeral services were held for former New York Knicks star Anthony Mason, who played for Springfield Gardens High School in Queens before playing in the NBA, where he became an icon representative of the city itself.

Mason died Saturday at age 48 after suffering a heart attack a few weeks ago.

Services were held at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica.

Mason was a key member of the 1993-94 Knicks that advanced to the NBA Finals against Houston.

Part power forward, part point forward, the 6-foot-7 Mason won the 1995 Sixth Man Award with the Knicks, later made an All-Star team, and twice led the league in minutes played. But it was the toughness he provided alongside Charles Oakley while surrounding franchise center Patrick Ewing that made him a fan favorite.

"MY MAN MY MAN A. MASON R.I.P, WE GONNA MISS U BROTHER," Oakley wrote on Twitter.

Mason's career averages - 10.9 points, 8.3 rebounds - don't tell the full story of his game. A solid, muscular presence down low, Mason was there to play defense, and on coach Pat Riley's bruising teams, he could shine.

Mason played for New York from 1991-1996, and then for the Hornets until 2000. He made his only All-Star team in 2001 as a member of the Miami Heat, after reuniting with Riley.

"Anthony Mason exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA," Commissioner Adam Silver said. "NBA fans and players around the league admired his tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense."

He wasn't all grit, though. Despite his plodding look, Mason was a nimble athlete and deft ballhandler who often showed up for games with words or designs styled into his hair.

(Some information from the Associated Press.)