The 15 greatest bigs in New York Knicks history

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
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Anthony Mason

Everybody loved Anthony Mason.

Here is a player who dived on every loose ball like he was playing for his life, because in a sense, he was. Anthony Mason was never supposed to make it to the NBA.

He wasn’t scouted highly or playing for a big name college program. As a matter of fact, the chip on his shoulders was completely justified. He had to take his talents early on in his career to Turkey and Venezuela, and only after stints with the Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets did the Knicks then-coach Pat Reilly decide to take a chance on him.

His size and athleticism were unique for the time, and though he spent a lot of time backing up Charles Oakley, he ended up playing out of position at the small forward spot at times, making the front court combination of Oakley, Ewing and Mason pretty difficult to handle.

Mason cemented the Knicks bruiser identity, being a rough and tough rebounder. Having been passed over by so many teams; he was truly a working-class hero for New Yorkers.

During his time with the Knicks he averaged 9.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists. When he left the Knicks for the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996-97 season, he was All-NBA, All-Defensive Team, and All-Star in that one season.

He shone bright there, but he was a critical part of what brought the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1994. Tragically, he passed away in 2015 of heart failure at only 48 years old.