Ex-Knicks enforcer Anthony Mason fighting for life following surgery

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Ex-Knicks enforcer Anthony Mason fighting for life following surgery
OAKLAND, CA - 1996: Anthony Mason #14 of the New York Knicks stretches during a game played circa 1996 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1996 NBAE (Photo by Brad Mangin/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason, left, is restrained by referee Dick Barerta, center, after Mason was involved in a scuffle at the end of the first half of Game 5 of the NBA Finals, at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 17, 1994, New York. Knicks head coach Pat Riley tries to calm Mason down. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
HOUSTON - JUNE 19: Anthony Mason #14 of the New York Knicks grabs the rebound against Houston Rockets during Game Six of the NBA Finals played on June 19, 1994 at the The Summit in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former NBA player Anthony Mason is in critical condition after suffering a heart attack and congestive heart failure, according to a report from retired NBA writer Peter Vecsey.
New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason dunks the ball during the fourth quarter of game five of the NBA Finals at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 17, 1994, New York. Mason scored 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, to help the Knicks defeat the Rockets 91-84. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason (14) dunks the ball ahead of Houston Rockets forward Otis Thorpe (33) during the fourth quarter of game five of the NBA Finals at Madison Square Garden, Friday, June 17, 1994, New York. Mason scored 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to help lift the Knicks to a 91-84 victory over the Rockets. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan, center, drives by New York Knicks Anthony Mason during the first quarter of an NBA Finals game, Saturday, May 29, 1993, Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo/John Swart)
Danny Manning (5) of the Los Angeles Clippers, hits a jumper over Anthony Mason (14) of the New York Knicks and scores during first quarter action in Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 20, 1992. Manning scored 27 points to lead the Clippers over the Knicks 101-91. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
4 Feb 2001: Marcus Camby #23 of the New York Knicks blocks a shot taken by Anthony Mason #14 of the Miami Heat at the end of regulation at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The shot would have won the game for the Heat as the Knicks win 103-100. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Miami Heat forward Anthony Mason (R) looks towards the basket as he is guarded by New York Knicks forward Marcus Camby (L) during the second quarter 11 March, 2001 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. AFP PHOTO/Matt CAMPBELL (Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 7: New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason(14) watches as Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen(R) lays in a missed shot by teammate Michael Jordan 07 May during the first quarter of game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the United Center in Chicago. Chicago leads the series 1-0. (Photo credit should read BRIAN BAHR/AFP/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - JUNE 10: Anthony Mason #14 of the New York Knicks dunks against Vernon Maxwell #11 of the Houston Rockets during Game Two of the NBA Finals played on June 10, 1994 at the The Summit in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1994 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks guard John Starks, left, gives Eric Bell, from the Harlem section of New York, a chance to go one-on-one before the New York State Midnight Basketball League's City Championship game, Sept. 22, 1994, in New York. Starks, along with Knicks teammate Anthony Mason, showed up to lend support to the anti-crime/pro-youth program. The state championship game is slated for later in the month. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Knicks Anthony Mason, left, sticks his tongue out at Chicago Bulls Will Perdue, right, as Bulls Horace Grant (54) acts as peacemaker during the fourth quarter of a 100-86 Knicks win at Madison Square Garden, Thursday, May 15, 1992, New York. Mason and Perdue got into a shoving match after Mason flagrantly fouled Perdue. The Knicks win forced a seventh game in the Eastern Conference semifinals. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks receives the Sixth Man of the Year Award and stands with past winners and former Knicks players Anthony Mason and John Starks and Luke Kim, District Sales Manager, Kia ; before Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 12: New York Knicks Anthony Mason during game against Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
26 Jan 1995: Forward Anthony Mason of the New York Knicks looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The Knicks won the game, 87-74. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport
11 Mar 1995: Forward Anthony Mason of the New York Knicks goes up for two during a game against the Seattle Supersonics at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The Supersonics won the game, 96-84. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsport
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Anthony Mason, who earned the reputation as one of the NBA's toughest players throughout the 1990s, is fighting for his life.

A basketball world still reeling from the deaths of coaching icons Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian is holding their highest prayers that a third tragic loss in less than a week does not become reality.

Longtime NBA forward Anthony Mason, who personified the rugged nature of the 1990s, is fighting for his life with a variety of ailments, including congestive heart failure that led to open heart surgery on Tuesday night.

News will continue to come in, yet it's a very sad piece of news regarding a man who celebrated his 48th birthday just two months ago.

Mason spent 16 years (1988-2003) in the NBA with six teams, yet is best known for his six years with the Knicks, where the muscular 6'7, 250-pounder became a fan favorite while also helping lead the game from the wide-open play of the 80s to the brutal, grinding style that resulting in the low-scoring style that personified much of the remainder of the 90s.

Along with Patrick Ewing, Mason helped guide the Knicks to three Eastern Conference finals and a trip to the 1994 NBA finals, where New York lost in seven to the Houston Rockets. His high-energy earned him the Association's Sixth Man of the Year award in 1995 before he was traded the following season to the Hornets as part of the Larry Johnson deal. Mason had his best season as a pro, where he averaged 16.1 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists (all career-highs) in Charlotte, which resulted in him receiving All-NBA Third Team honors.

Mason made his only All-Star game appearance as a member of the Heat in 2000 when injuries to Alonzo Mourning and Grant Hill led the way for Mason to suit up with the game's best. He ended his career with the Bucks, where his intensity and outspoken nature rubbed coach George Karl the wrong way while also being wrongly blamed for the collapse of a team that played for the Eastern Conference title in 2001.

Mason's two sons are currently at his side. His youngest son, Antoine, is a member of the Auburnbasketball team.

Social media has been filled with prayers and best wishes for Mason, many of whom remember him as one of the Knicks' enforcers while donning an intimidating haircut that became a trend. At 48, Mason has plenty of years ahead of him, and we also add our prayers in hoping he'll be able to live them.

Anthony Mason Per Game Points, Rebounds and Assists | FindTheBest

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