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Former NBA All-Star Anthony Mason dead at 48

Sporting News logo Sporting News 2/28/2015 Ron Clements, Sporting News

U.S.A. boxer Howard Davis slugs it out with Yugoslavian Ace Rusevski in lightweight boxing action at the Montreal Olympics Thursday, July 29, 1976.  Davis was the winner. Notable sports deaths of 2015

Former NBA All-Star Anthony Mason died Saturday morning at the age of 48, a Knicks spokesperson confirmed .

Mason, a 2001 All-Star with the Miami Heat, played for six NBA teams over 13 seasons including five years with the Knicks. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month .

MORE: Remembering those who have passed in 2015

Mason had four surgeries following his heart attack and his three sons — Anthony Jr., Antoine and Armon — were at his side.

Mason was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 1995 while with the Knicks and was selected to the NBA's All-Defensive team in 1997. The Tennessee State alum was drafted by Portland in 1988, but was cut before the season began. He played a season in Turkey before joining the New Jersey Nets in 1989. After a year with the Savannah Spirits of the Continental Basketball Association, Mason played three games with the Denver Nuggets before going to the Knicks in 1991.

Known as a tenacious defender and "the enforcer" for the Knicks, Mason even served as security for rapper LL Cool J.

In New York, Mason helped the Knicks reach the 1994 NBA Finals for the first time since 1973, but lost to Houston. Despite leading the league in minutes played in the 1995-96 season, Mason was traded to Charlotte. He spent three seasons with the Hornets and the 1996-97 season was the best of Mason's career. He averaged more than 16 points that season with 76 blocks and 33 steals. The 6-7 forward bested those numbers in 2001 with 80 blocks to go with his 16-point average.

Mason spent his final two NBA seasons in Milwaukee. For his career, Mason averaged 11 points per game. He averaged more than three assists per game and finished his career with 648 steals and 244 blocked shots.

PHOTOS: Remembering Anthony Mason in images

Away from basketball, Mason appeared in television shows and movies, sometimes playing himself. He also appeared in several music videos, including the Beastie Boys' "Root Down".

Anthony Jr. played in the NBA Developmental League. Antoine plays at Auburn after transferring from Niagara University. Armon plays basketball for his middle school and on YMCA and AAU teams.

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