Chris Tomasson continues to keep us informed of what is going on in Denver and he has reported on FanHouse that Desmond Mason was in Denver earlier this week. From all accounts Mason is a tremendous individual and with the issues the Nuggets have had and are still having that is nothing to sneeze at. The fact that Mason ever played in the NBA at all is a miracle.
Mason made a guest appearance at the Alliance’s summer camp for burn-injured youth at the Timber-Lee Christian Center in East Troy, addressing close to 90 campers ages 7 through 17. His message hit home, because when he was 3 years old, he felt their pain.
His story originated 27 years ago when he was in the back seat of his father’s car. There was a radiator explosion in an adjacent car, and the radiator fluid flew through the open window of Mason’s father’s car and into the back seat, where Desmond was sleeping. He was scalded. His legs had sustained most of the burns.
Mason spent the next six months or so in a hospital, where he underwent skin grafts, plastic surgery and rehabilitation. His doctors told his parents that he would never be able to run again.
They obviously underestimated Desmond’s determination. Within a year, he was not only running, but playing football and basketball.
Mason not only told the children at the burn camp the story of his traumatic ordeal, but showed them his scars and said, “Look at me now!”
His young audience, according to one observer, was awestruck. Anyone else who witnessed his presentation probably was, too.
“I told them about what I had to go through when I was young and I got burned,” Mason said. “It was in the same situation, and it’s something that kind of messes with your head a little bit. Kids are so young, and they can be brutal and say whatever and make you feel like an outcast sometimes.
“When I visit these camps, I’m around people who are in the same situation I was in.”
Mason told the campers to enjoy their time at the camp, look past their painful experiences and focus on the future. And he stressed to them the importance of working hard and believing that they could accomplish anything they set out to do.
His story is inspiring and I hope he can continue to provide hope to children who have suffered from similar tragedies.
There has been some good discussion here on whether or not Denver should sign Mason. I will only add one thing and that is Mason’s career three point shooting percentage. 26.0%. Ouch.
I believe we can explain Mason’s presence in Denver by looking back to a visit by Rashad McCants. When McCants came to Denver last month it seemed like an odd story. The result of McCants’ trip to the Mile High City was that Anthony Carter realized that there were other players who wanted to play in Denver and he signed his contract soon after.
I believe Denver’s interest in Mason is for him to play the role of McCants in the hopes that Szczerbiak responds the way Carter did. I am sure the Nuggets are hoping to sign Wally to a minimum contract while Wally is hoping to get the $2.1 million balance of Denver’s mid level exception. The thing is both sides know the other side needs them so they are in no rush to act. The Nuggets desperately need a shooter to come in off the bench and there is no contending team with minutes available left for Szczerbiak to sign with.
I do not know what Szczerbiak’s starting salary will be. I would guess that he gets a big chunk, if not all of, the bi-annual exception, which is capped at $1.99 million this season. The bottom line is regardless of who else comes to town, I firmly believe Wally will be the Nuggets’ man.