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Former Knicks star dishes out money advice after hard times
By Brandon Robinson

Anthony Mason is working to help others not make the same financial mistakes he did.

The former New York Knicks star and Springfield Gardens native made more than $40 million during his 13-year NBA career, but owed more than $1.8 million in state and federal taxes in Wisconsin, according to an Oct. 29, 2009, report on terezowens.com.

Mason has made consistent payments on his account and as of July 15, 2013 he owed $771,559.57, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

“I’ve lost a lot of money for different reasons,” Mason said. “I wanted to jump on this investment and that investment.”

He decided to use his experience to help others. In 2011, Mason became a life insurance marketing specialist with the Hotaling Group, an independent insurance firm based in Manhattan. He’s in the division that helps provide coverage to several high-level amateur prospects, protecting their future earnings as a professional. Mason took the job not knowing what he was getting into, but he believes his career as an athlete will help players trust him to point out wiser decisions.

“I took care of everybody around me, which is probably the ultimate thing that happens to all of us — we don’t always want to say no,” he said.

Mason, a member of the 1994 Eastern Conference champion Knicks, was the NBA’s 1995 Sixth Man of the Year while playing for New York and an NBA all-star in 2001 as a member of the Miami Heat. He retired in 2003 while with the Milwaukee Bucks, finishing with career averages of 10.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Like other successful athletes, Mason fell on hard times when his career ended.

This isn’t uncommon. According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. Mason said all it takes is one false move to put your finances in jeopardy. He wants to do his part in making sure it happens less to athletes. One of his ideas is for players to put aside the money they earn up front so it can grow throughout their career.

“I feel like I can slash that number by two-thirds if everybody just says let me do something for my future instead of waiting until something happens that they don’t foresee,” Mason said.

The power forward was reliable on Pat Riley’s Knicks bench to act as a physical defender against opponents much taller than him. Now he hopes to be trusted in a different way as he takes on the task of advising players to spend their money wisely when they reach the league.

“You’re going to play 10 to 12 years by accident if you’ve got any skill,” Mason said. “Why not have your money work for you?”

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