Report: Anthony Mason’s condition has “improved slightly”

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Things sounded dire when news of Anthony Mason’s condition broke on Wednesday. He had congestive heart failure that led to multiple surgeries — one lasting nine hours — in the last few days and was fighting for his life.

But there is a ray of hope, with the news coming courtesy the New York Times.

Don Cronson, who was Mason’s agent when he played in the N.B.A., expressed slight optimism during the day on Thursday after a member of Mason’s immediate family gave him an update on Mason’s condition. “Right now, it’s day to day, but that’s an improvement from moment to moment,” Cronson said.

He said Mason, 48, who last played in the N.B.A. in the 2002-3 season, had gone to a hospital for a checkup for heart issues and had the heart attack there. Cronson said family members had been told that Mason might need a heart transplant if he survived.

There is no good news here, but if you’re going to have a heart attack the hospital is the best place to do it.

Mason played 13 NBA seasons for a number of NBA teams but is best remembered as a fan-favorite in New York. His toughness, ability to defend multiple positions, and physicality were a big part of the Pat Riley’s New York grinding teams in the Patrick Ewing era. Riley recruited Mason to Miami when Riley went south, and with the Heat Mason was named the Sixth Man of the Year in 1995. He averaged 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds a game over the course of his career. He made the All-Star Game in 2001.

Our thoughts remain with Mason’s family in this difficult time.