Alton Mason, ” It is a blessing and I am very grateful” – Feb 23, 2010

Nog even een oudje. Zes jaar geleden had ik met Alton Mason – de toenmalige guard van ABC Amsterdam – een interview in Amsterdam.

mason eurochallengeI had a chance to sit down with ABC Amsterdam guard Alton Mason this week. Just two seasons ago I had the idea of recording an interview with Alton but through circumstances it never happened. In this wide-ranging interview the veteran told about his time at ASU, his current young team and his belief that occupies a very large place in his life.

Where did basketball begin for you?
When I was 8 years old I joined a community center youth basketball league and it’s been with me ever since.

What will you remember about your time at Arizona State the most?
Playing in the Pac-10 and having the opportunity to showcase my talent among the best in the nation and getting a good education at a quality school.

What has been the highlight of your basketball career at Arizona State?
I was the 3rd all time leader of assists and steals at ASU and I had 30 points against Stanford who was the #2 team in the nation.

What are your expectations for this season and what has demanded the team from you?
I expect our team to make it to the playoffs and win the championship. As a Vet this season the demand is for me to be a coach on the floor and lead our young team.

Are you happy with the first half of your Dutch league season?
First of all I’m a competitor so I can’t honestly say that I like our record, but we are playing hard and everyone is contributing the best way we can.

masonDespite the up-and-down season, do you feel that Amsterdam could turn it up a notch come playoff time?
Absolutely! I believe in our players and I believe that we has the will to win….never underestimate the underdogs. I know that we can make alot of noise in the playoffs.

What has surprised you about the team this year?
Despite all the changes, ups and downs, we keep fighting. We’re making progress with each game we play.

How do you psyche yourself up before a game?
A nice family meal, nap and inspirational music to get me hyped and focused.

Your career has taken you all over Europe with stops in Belgium, Finland, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Bosnia and Holland . How have your travels influenced you as a person and as a basketball player?
As a person it gave me the opportunity to understand many different cultures and my family gets to see and live in places that most dream about. We consider it a blessing and I am very grateful. Basketball wise, I’ve learned that the style of play is different in every country. Therefore I consider myself a chameleon because I can always adapt.

What is the hardest thing about playing as a pro?
Honestly, I don’t consider it hard. I consider it a blessing that I get to make a living doing something I’m truly passionate about.

Have you had any inspirational coaches or teammates over the course of your basketball career?
Yes, my college coach was a big inspiration to me because he taught me the x’s and o’s about basketball and I admire how he handled his career as a coach once the ball stopped bouncing.

When and how did you become a Christian?
I had the desire to baptized at 9 years old and accepted Jesus Christ into my life. Since then I’ve always prayed to him to guide my life and direct my paths.

What connections do you make with other Christians on your team?
Being that our team is so diverse, there are alot of different beliefs and religious backgrounds so for our team there really isn’t a connection, it’s personal.

AltonPOSTHow prevalent is religion in the locker room?
In this locker room this season, again it’s more personal. I’ve been on teams where we prayed together before the games, but this is different and I respect that, but I continue to pray.

Have you been able to connect on a spiritual level with others in your profession?
Yes, on previous teams there were other believers and we would get together and have bible study.

Have you always been spiritual?
Yes, it was instilled in me from a young age and it will forever be with me as I pass it on to my children and try to teach them to have faith and believe because all things are possible in Christ.

How much does your faith impact your daily life?
My wife and I read a daily devotional together and right now we are in the process of reading the whole bible in 365 days. So besides our devotional we are reading 2-4 scriptures daily from beginning to end. Even though we’ve always studied our bible it’s amazing how much we are re-learning it and becoming stronger in our faith. This season we have found a church home in Holland. It’s a little different than the churches we grew up in, but I enjoy taking my family to church every Sunday.

Is coaching something you hope to pursue full-time when your playing career is over?
For sure, I was inspired by my college coach and he told me that I have the swagger to become a coach after my playing days are over. And with the young team that we have, I like to think that I am being a inspiration to them currently. With my boys I am teaching them the fundamentals because they have the desire to play, and one thing I tell them, the game is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

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