Pat Riley, former Knicks attend funeral of Anthony Mason

By on March 7, 2015

A private funeral was held for Athony Mason (c.) who died after suffering a heart attack in February.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

A private funeral was held for Athony Mason (c.) who died after suffering a heart attack in February.

Anthony Mason got one last pep talk from his old coach Friday as friends and former teammates said farewell Friday to the former Knicks power forward.

Pat Riley was among those who spoke at Mason’s funeral, a private sendoff that was attended by his former teammates Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Herb Williams, and other retired NBA players like ex-Knick John Wallace and Jayson Williams, who played for the New Jersey Nets.

“The four years I coached him in New York and the one year in Miami, he’s one of the best players I’ve coached,” Riley told the Daily News after the service at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Queens.

“He had something that was special and unique, and not many players had it. He engulfed all of that in his competitiveness desire to win and to separate himself from the pack.”

Mason, Riley added, was the kind of player who “planted his feet hard and made a point about who he is.”

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“Anthony Mason is a great tribute to New York, to his family and to this area,” Riley said. “I was just proud to be a part of the ceremony and proud to be his coach.”

Starks said “Mace” was “every bit a Queens kid.”

“He let you know he was from Queens, you know what I mean?” said Starks. “He had a lot of pride in where he came from. That was just Mace. He’s about family and about pride.”

Just 48, Mason was felled by a massive heart attack in the second week of February, but held on until last weekend when he died.

Mason played with the Knicks from 1991-96 and was a key player on the 1994 club that reached the NBA Finals. He was a fearsome competitor and one of the toughest players to play the game. He also had several well-publicized run-ins with the police, as well.

Yvette Stone, dressed in an old-school Knicks warm-up jacket, preferred to remember Mason as the little boy from her block who made them all proud.

“He was the star of the community, so I had to be here,” she said.

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