The passion for art began at an early age. For Desmond Mason, art became a refuge, a channel through which he would overcome adversity and express himself.
“I have always painted by emotion,” Mason said. “Art calms and blesses me. Art has helped mold me because it allows me to be free.”
Born and raised in Waxahachie, Texas, the many challenges of Desmond’s early childhood were compounded by a scalding that badly scarred his legs. Those scars were deeper than skin and, as he came of age, provided motivation to prove his resolve and satisfy his competitive spirit. A gifted multi-sport athlete, in high school he became a basketball star and earned a scholarship to Oklahoma State University where he majored in Studio Art, studied art history and advanced his drawing and painting skills. Under legendary OSU coach Eddie Sutton, Desmond continued to blossom as a basketball player and appeared in three NCAA tournaments. During his senior season he received national recognition for both his basketball and artistic ability, was featured in Sports Illustrated and collected All-Conference and National Honors with the team advancing to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament.
In 2000, the Seattle Supersonics drafted Desmond in the first round of the NBA draft. His college sweetheart Andrea, a member of the OSU women’s soccer team, moved to Seattle where they would be engaged and marry. During Mason’s 10-year NBA career, he played for Seattle, Milwaukee, the Oklahoma City Hornets and Thunder, and the Sacramento Kings. He won the NBA Slam Dunk competition in 2001. Desmond retired from basketball in 2009 and settled in Oklahoma City.
“The most important thing in my life is my family,” Desmond said. “My wife Andrea and our children, Jada and Elijah. They are my inspiration. God blessed me with this artistic talent and I will continue to use it to make a difference.”
Desmond has held solo exhibitions along with selling hundreds of original pieces to collectors all over the world. Founded by the artist in 2004, the annual Desmond Mason Art Exhibition, sells his art to benefit a variety of causes and charities. Well known for his philanthropy, in one 2-hour live auction event 23 paintings were sold and raised over $375,000. Desmond’s beneficiaries include Boys and Girls Club, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, White Fields home for boys, the NFL Player’s Association scholarship fund and Allied Arts of Oklahoma City. Desmond is ever mindful of the challenges faced by young people and is committed to using his artistic talents to help children, build community and inspire service to others.