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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Q & A: Harvey Mason Jr.

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Lute Olsons retirement ceremony, 7/8/09
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Lute Olson’s retirement ceremony, 7/8/09

Harvey Mason Jr. played basketball at the University of Arizona from 1986-90, but after college made his fame as a music producer and songwriter, producing for acts such as Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Chris Brown and Drake. His 2009 release of the film “”More Than a Game”” featured the NBA’s LeBron James on his rise to stardom, which will show tonight at Centennial Hall. The Arizona Daily Wildcat talked with Mason Jr. about his memories of Arizona, his career in music and the Kobe/LeBron debate.


Daily Wildcat: I think I was a 1-year-old when you were a senior at Arizona. What type of player were you?


Harvey Mason Jr.: I was super intense, high energy, fight to the death type of player. I was not the best player on the team by far, but I was going to work as hard as anyone, you know, as hard as I possibly could, to make the most of what I had. I was a very team-oriented player. Coming out of high school, averaging 30, 40 points a game and going to college, I wanted to be a part of something bigger. That’s kind of a theme in the film (“”More Than a Game””) that was reflected in my life … so at the U of A I did anything to help the team. I think that summed up my personality as a basketball player.


What were your fondest memories playing under coach Olson? Do you have any particular anecdotes that stick out?


My fondest memories were being around all the guys and coach Olson; road trips, traveling together, eating dinner together. We especially all loved traveling around the country my junior year as the number one ranked team, in the world basically, and just beating up people, and just going city-to-city just running through other people’s teams. That was so much fun. It was just the time spent with the other guys and coach Olson and the other coaches. It was a family. That’s what I loved, and that’s what I took away after all the wins and losses, the slam dunks and special plays — the relationships and the bond you have with the guys you played with.


At which point , entering your senior year or during it, did you decide, “”Oh what are you going to do after college””?


Well my decision was made for me? my senior year. I tore my ACL. That was kind of the end of my basketball career. I was starting at the time and had pretty much a career-ending injury, like two games past the point that I could have redshirted. I had to figure out what to do. I was always involved with music even when I was in school. I was always writing and playing and producing. It was kind of a logical thing.


You and your teammates all went different directions, I mean Steve Kerr is the GM, now he’s back to announcing. Do you guys keep in touch at all?


Yeah, we all keep in touch. We definitely check in on one another when something special happens. Four weeks ago I went to (former UA basketball player and MLB All-Star) Kenny Lofton’s induction to the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame and that sort of stuff we definitely get together. Coach Olson is always kind of a centerpiece of getting together. I’m seeing coach on Friday and some of the other guys will be in town.


What is the most fun part of your job right now, I mean, you work with talented people everyday. What’s that like?


The most fun is the diversity in the things I get to do. If I had to do the same thing everyday, I would probably go crazy. I’m able to work on different styles of music, everyday it’s a different personality. It’s definitely a challenge to figure out all the different artists and their little idiosyncrasies, and the strange things that they need to perform. It’s just fun in the sense that it’s always a variety of activities and the fact that I get to do film and TV and music.


What are your thoughts on coach Miller and this year’s team? What do you think they’re going to do?


I don’t have any great predictions, because I don’t know enough about the players. But I really like coach Miller, I really like his staff. I think they’ve done a great job of upholding the tradition. They’ve really gone out of their way to reach out to the old coaches and the old players … which I think is smart because we have such a strong basketball alumni (base). I like his demeanor, I like his personality. I like how he treats his players, I like the type of kids he’s bringing in. I’m really optimistic about the program. It was at such a high level, he’s got a ways to go to get there, but I’m really optimistic about him doing it. I think he’s a great person for the job.


You guys are in Hollywood? That’s where your company is based?


Yes, North Hollywood.


Are you a Lakers guy or are you…?


I’m a Clippers guy. Yeah, unfortunately.


I’ve been reading about it a lot, would you choose Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James) in a one-on-one?


I would choose Kobe. Killer instincts, I mean LeBron is physically incredible, but I don’t think he has the killer instinct Kobe has. I think if it was one-on-one, one man has to beat the other, Kobe’s instincts and will to win would take over.

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