Mason died earlier this year in February due to a massive heart attack. It was his massive heart that he left on the floor every night, as he had a reputation of putting it all on the line on the defensive end. He was as tenacious as they come, and also a physical specimen to behold. Mason spent his tenure with five teams in his 13-year NBA career. Perhaps his most notable stint was with the New York Knicks during the 1993-94 season, where he was named the Sixth Man of the Year and helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals where they squared off against the Houston Rockets. He was also named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team in 2001 when he played for the Miami Heat.
Affectionately known as “Hot” Rod Hundley, he passed away earlier this year in March, although the details of his death were left undisclosed. In 1957, Hundley was selected first overall by the then-Cincinnati Royals before being traded to the then-Minneapolis Lakers. Due to bad knees, Hundley was forced to retire six years later, but quickly became a popular voice in the sports broadcasting world announcing play-by-plays for the Jazz in both New Orleans and Utah from 1974-2009. He called a total of 3,051 games for the franchise. NBA legend Jerry West has cited Hundley as an influence in his basketball journey, stating that Hundley was the one to convinced him to attend West Virginia. It was Hundley’s alma mater.
Lloyd passed away earlier this year in February. Lloyd’s death brought upon much grief, as he was the first-ever black player to play in the NBA, paving the way for what is now a predominantly African-American and black-diasporic league. Lloyd played for the Washington Capitols in the 1950-51 season, but then underwent military service after the season was complete. He returned in the 1952-53 season and played for the Rochester Royals for six years, winning a championship with them in the process in 1955. After finishing off his career with the Detroit Pistons, Lloyd yet again made history by becoming the first black assistant coach in the NBA when he signed on with the Pistons’ staff.
Dawkins died near the end of the summer in late August, succumbing to a heart attack. Dawkins was easily one of the most vibrant personalities of the NBA and one of the forefathers of the art of dunking. His dunks were so creative that he even gave them names such as “Look Out Below” and “Yo Mama.” Creativity aside, his dunks were so powerful that on two separate occasions he shattered the backboard. Dawkins spent 14 years in NBA, seven of them with the Philadelphia 76ers with whom he played his best statistical season (points-wise) in 1983-84 when he posted an average of 16.8 points per game. Once his NBA career was over, he had a short stint with the Harlem Globetrotters, then played overseas in Italy. He also coached in both the minor league and junior college levels.
The man, the gamechanger, the legend
Ballers, celebrities and more come together to remember Madiba
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