From 2001 NBA Slam Dunk Champion to established artist, Desmond Mason has transferred his creativity on the court to the canvas — in addition to walls, a Mercedes Benz G-Wagen and even his Slam Dunk Contest trophy. A painter since he was 11 years old and a studio art major at Oklahoma State University, Mason’s post-NBA career actually makes perfect sense.
His professional artistry began long before his retirement in 2009 though. In 2004, Mason established the Desmond Mason Art Show, an annual benefit held in all his NBA team cities to raise money for nonprofit organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, White Fields group home for boys and the NFL Players Association scholarship fund.
Although he hails from Waxahachie, Texas, and resides in Oklahoma, Mason is a supporter of Running Rebels Community Organization in Milwaukee, another city close to his heart where he spent four seasons with the Bucks. Last year, he helped create murals and mosaics for the organization’s new facilities, with the Bucks Foundation donating a portion of its $1 million grant for at-risk youth mentoring programs to Running Rebels.
Among other honors for his philanthropic work, Mason received the U.N. Athlete for Peace Award in 2016. He cited his involvement with the Athletes for Art Renaissance Tour as a major factor in his receiving the recognition. Athletes for Art travels around the world showcasing the artwork of college and professional athlete artists, which has included NFL veterans Vernon Davis and Lance Kendricks as well.
In addition to his charitable endeavors, Mason has proven himself commercially as an artist too. Mason has sold over 250 pieces to collectors around the world, including a painting of a tequila bottle created for George Clooney, a basketball fanatic and co-founder of Casamigos Tequila. Clients also commission Mason to create “drinkable art” in the form of hand-painted bottles of Casamigos tequila and Veuve Clicquot champagne.
While Mason loves art, he values family above all else. This past March, he held an art show in Oklahoma called “My Love Show” featuring an art collection inspired by his love for his wife, Rebecca, and their two children. He states, “They are my inspiration. God blessed me with this artistic talent and I will continue to use it to make a difference.” With the motto “#BeDifferent,” Mason appears to be making a unique and beautiful canvas out of his post-NBA life!