Anthony Mason Hoping Luck Turns Good
Tulsa, Okla. • Oct. 15, 2011
Anthony Mason Jr. knows bad breaks. It’s about time he got a good one, and the Pan American Games might be just the thing. Mason Jr. couldn’t have picked a better time for his first competitive action in more than six months.
“It’s a great feeling,” Mason Jr. said of his return. “You’ve got the USA gear, and you’re going down [to Mexico] to represent your country at a time when our country’s pride should be the strongest and when we’re dealing with certain circumstances with our country.”
Mason Jr. has suffered multiple injuries, but he says the torn labrum he suffered in early January was the worst. Right before the setback, the 6-7 guard out of St. John’s was at his best, scoring 16 points to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists. Pretty standard numbers from a rookie season with Sioux Falls that included averages of 15.1 ppg. and 8.2 rpg. with a shooting percentage of better than 50 percent in 15 games played. He looked to be in prime position for the D-League Showcase. Instead, the Skyforce sent him home for rehabilitation and training.
“This injury was the most devastating because of how close I was to where I wanted to be,” Mason Jr. said.
It felt strange for Mason Jr. to return home to Memphis, where he had not spent much time in the last five years since he began his college career.
“Sticking to the positives, that was the hardest part,” he said. “There are down times not playing basketball and being at home, thinking about the money you think you should have since you just graduated. I’ve got some positive people around me like my mom and family that always keep me up.” His dad, a 13-year NBA veteran and a 2001 All-Star with the Heat, also offered some helpful perspective.
From May to August, he rehabbed before training at IMG Academies for the last month and a half. Through three daily workouts, treatments and down time, Mason Jr. looked to his mom, Monica Bryant, for any additional motivation besides his own drive.
“It’s one thing for me, but I do it for her and for my fans,” he said. “I want them to be able to see me and come to those games. My pops had a good experience, but he wasn’t with my mom, so she couldn’t see that life. My mom deserves it.”
Friday’s first practice marked another step toward returning to form. Mason Jr. admitted he was winded, but he is thankful that his injury did not cause him to miss any more time. Now it’s time to focus on winning and doing whatever it takes offensively or defensively to get it done.