Off the Court: Roger Mason

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Roger Mason leads the Hornets in numerous categories related to basketball experience, entering the 2012-13 season with the most career playoff games (24) and second-most regular season appearances (424, behind only Hakim Warrick’s 498). The 32-year-old Mason is at least a decade older than multiple teammates, including several Hornets who were born in the 1990s.

Mason is well-respected around the league by fellow players, partly for his key role in the NBA Players Association. The thoughtful native of the Washington, D.C. area joined Hornets.com to discuss some of his interests when he’s not playing basketball:

People who’ve had the most influence on him on and off the court: “Definitely my parents. I’m from a very close family.”

Best moments as an athlete: “Playing for the USA team in college, at the World University Games in Beijing. My career overall has been a blessing. Game-winning shots, playoff games are all up there. Also, being in the NBA three-point contest was a nice achievement.”

How he chose his current uniform number of 8: “I was in the NBA for my first three years out of college, but then I went to Israel. I’m already a spiritual person, but I felt that the one year there made an impact. When I came back to the NBA, I picked 8 because in the Bible, the number 8 means a new beginning. So 8 represented a new beginning to get back in the league and try to do better the second time. I wore 31 my first few years in the NBA, because that was where I was drafted. I was disappointed by that (getting picked in the second round), so wearing 31 was kind of a motivation for me.”

Something fans might be surprised to know about him: “I’m a classically-trained piano player. My parents made me take lessons when I was 7 years old. I didn’t enjoy it at the time, but I’m glad they made me do it. I’m not as good as I used to be, but I can still jump on there and do some things.” [smiles]

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The people. They have a lot of energy and they’re passionate about the city.”

Pregame ritual: “The one thing that is constant before every game is that I pray.”

First job: “Working at a law firm in Washington, D.C. I was a runner who was taking files back and forth to offices.”

Favorite athletes as a kid: “Joe Dumars and Michael Jordan.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I fell in love with the game of basketball at an early age, so it’d be hard not to be involved somehow. But I have many other interests, including music, architecture and business. So I might possibly have done something in one of those areas.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams: “Ime Udoka, who was my teammate with the Spurs and is now an assistant coach with them. I’ve also got a lot of other close friends in the NBA such as Toney Douglas of Houston.”

Favorite type of music: “I like all kinds of music, but I love gospel, R&B, hip-hop.”

Favorite TV show: “Boardwalk Empire.”

Favorite movie of all time: “The Negotiator. I love that movie because I love Samuel L. Jackson as an actor. But it’s a great movie. (Jackson) is actually staying in New Orleans at the same place where I am right now.”

Favorite websites: “CNN.com, Hoops Hype, Twitter.”

What he enjoys about his Twitter page: “I love being able to get my message out. I love being able to interact with fans. It’s also a great information source.”