FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots fortified the interior of their offensive line in the NFL draft, and in doing so, they introduced their followers to a unique story.
Meet fourth-round draft choice Shaquille Olajuwon Mason.
"I was born in 1993, so that was around [Shaquille O’Neal]’s prime. My mom [Alicia] was a huge Shaq fan, and she also liked Hakeem Olajuwon. She just gave me the first and middle names of them," he explained.
Fittingly, when the Patriots announced Mason as their draft pick Saturday, they did so with a position designation of center (even though Mason was a guard in college).
NBA fans recall, of course, that O'Neal and Olajuwon met in the 1995 NBA finals.
Mason is no relation to the late Anthony Mason, another former NBA star from that era.
As for Mason and his own basketball background, he stopped playing in the 10th grade. He called himself a power forward who spent a lot of time in the paint but who had "a little guard" in his game.
Needless to say, this wasn't the first time he was asked about his unique name and connection to the sport of basketball.