02.17.04:A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star
Harvey Mason, defending a Purdue player in 1989, has risen above the memory of two misses at the free-throw line against Stanford.
My enduring image of Harvey Mason came on deadline late one January night in 1989 at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
Mason, then a junior guard coming off a serious knee problem, was at the foul line with two shots and a chance to send the game into overtime. The pressure was amplified because Arizona was bidding to be the nation’s No. 1 team. It was madness. The floor was bouncing; the noise so great you could not carry on a conversation.
In the locker room, Mason was so crushed that I looked away. I cannot stand it when a college basketball game takes such a toll, if only for a few days. You could not have told Mason then that his life would soar past a missed foul shot at Stanford.
Here’s how life has turned out for Mason: he was part of Justin Timberlake’s Grammy-winning “Cry Me a River” performance last week. Mason, and his partner Damon Thomas, produced Timberlake’s smash album “Justified.”
Their firm, Underdog Productions, in October signed a lucrative production deal with music legend Clive Davis, who was profiled last week on “60 Minutes.”
Mason also produced Ruben Studdard’s hit single “Sorry 2004” and is in the studio currently producing a reunion album with the Backstreet Boys. He also has worked recently with Tyrese, Babyface and Pink.
“We’re not trying to be the coolest,” Mason recently told reporters. “We’re at the stage of our career where we can make music widely heard. We want our music to be the star.”
That missed free throw at Stanford, resulting in Arizona’s only loss during a 17-1 Pac-10 season, has become inconsequential.
Mason turned out to be the real winner.