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Show and Prove: Kobe Frowns


At first glance, Roger Mason Jr. seems like the prototypical Spur. He's generally polite in public, comes complete with a journeyman back-story including stops overseas, and has a knack for knocking down big shots on the NBA stage. When he's not draining game-winning threes on Christmas Day, or silencing the hated Lakers, Mason enjoys fishing and reading and is particularly fond of Architectural Digest. Then there are the tats.

With apologies to Damon Stoudamire and DerMarr Johnson, in recent memory few memorable Spurs outside of Antonio Daniels and yes, Dennis Rodman have rocked visible ink. Yes, future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan sports two tattoos, a wizard and a jester, but both are generally obscured by his jersey and out of view. On a squad where a headband is considered a bold fashion risk, ink like Mason's and to a certain extent rookie George Hill's is a refreshing deviation from the norm particularly when it has meaning.

Roger Mason Sr. passed away from kidney disease when his son was only 11 years old. Young Roger went on to excel at hoops and was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2002, traded to the Toronto Raptors the following year, and eventually waived. Following stops in Greece and Israel, Mason finally clicked with the Washington Wizards in 2006.

After securing his spot on the Wizards roster, Roger paid tribute to his father with the tattoo that graces his left shoulder and upper arm. The first details you notice are the looming angel and the prevalence of Psalm 46. According to Mason, this was the scripture he and his family took solace in when his father was in the hospital.

Since joining the Spurs this season, Mason has knocked down a trio of game saving buckets and along with the return of Manu Ginobili and emergence of George Hill, has been one of the bright spots of the campaign thus far. Despite its lack of pyrotechnics, the Spurs home court is one of the NBA's grander stages where championships have been forged and won. When Roger Jr. sank the game winning free-throw to deliver Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers a frustrating 112-111 loss on a Wednesday night in San Antonio, it was hard not to imagine his dad looking down and smiling.

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