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Former NBA player and 2001 Slam Dunk contest winner Desmond Mason joined guest host Mo Ivory on NewsOne Now to talk about how he transitioned from the NBA into a critically acclaimed artist.

Mason, who retired from the league at the age of 32, said he told his agent, “I’ll retire at age 32 regardless of the situation.” From that moment forward, he became “aggressive” in the world of art.

“Everybody was wondering why I retired so young and I still had plenty of time to play and I did it on my terms, but anybody that really knows me, they knew that basketball never defined me, sports never defined me and I was a little bit different — so I moved on to my next challenge,” he said.

Mason told Ivory that he still considers himself a “rookie in the art game” and aspires to take his craft to NBA level status as an internationally recognized artist.

Mason said he used basketball as a “platform” to get people to attend his art exhibitions, believing his art would “speak for itself.”

“I got to the point where I started having exhibitions and people were paying five, six, seven, eight thousand, nine thousand, ten thousand dollars for a painting and then I knew then it wasn’t just because I played basketball. No one is going to continuously pay that money for something because I play basketball.”

Mason highlighted actor George Clooney, Rich Heise, an early investor in Groupon, and other business heavyweights as being collectors of his art work. The former Seattle Supersonics shooting guard recently sold a painting to Chicago businessman David Gupta for $60,000.

Mason has a series of art shows coming up in Las Vegas and Dallas. For more information about his paintings and upcoming shows, visit

Watch NewsOne Now guest host, Mo Ivory, and former NBA player Desmond Mason discuss his transition from pro sports to the art world in the video clip above.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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Former NBA Player & Dunk Champ Desmond Mason On Transition From Basketball To Artist  was originally published on