By Sadef Ali Kully
South Jamaica is slated to honor the late Knicks forward Anthony Mason, who grew up in the area, at a street naming approved by the City Council this month.
As part of a package of name changes across the city, the City Council greenlighted the renaming of 147th Street between Rockaway and Sutphin boulevards, which will be called Anthony Mason Way. The bill was introduced by Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica).
Mason, known for his brawny stature and slam dunks, died Feb. 28, 2015 after suffering from congestive heart failure. He was 48. His funeral services were held at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral on Merrick Boulevard last March.
Last year in May, Springfield Gardens High School named its gym “Mase” for the nickname he had cut into his hair. Mason graduated from the school and helped lead Springfield Gardens to the 1983 Public School Athletics League boys’ basketball city title.
It was an all-Star event.
Mason’s two sons, Anthony Jr. and Antoine, turned out as well as former Knicks John Starks, John Wallace and Anthony Bonner. Ken Fiedler, Mason’s coach, and his son, former NFL quarterback Jay Fielder, attended the ceremony.
A green-and-white banner with Mason’s silhouette and haircut was hung on the wall of the gym.
Mason played 13 seasons in the NBA, five of them with the Knicks, from 1991-96.
He averaged 9.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during his years with New York and epitomized the tough playing style of head coach Pat Riley. He won the league’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1995 and was an All-Star with the Miami Heat in 2001.
A fan favorite during the last of the Knicks’ glory years in the 1990s, Mason was known for his dribbling skills and a soft shooter’s touch. But he was also famous for his rough-and-tough court style, a result of his towering size at 6-foot-7 and over 200 pounds combined with his aggressive demeanor.
Mason could be seen during and after his NBA days in and around southeast Queens, where he frequented Proper Cafe on Linden Boulevard and got his famous haircuts at a barbershop on Parsons Boulevard.
He also played for the Nets, Hornets, Nuggets and Bucks.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull