Frank Mason III reaches out to young fan in Sacramento with impromptu meeting
In town for a predraft visit with the Sacramento Kings this week, former Kansas point guard Frank Mason III made it a trip that a young fan will never forget.
Once news spread that Mason was going to attend a workout with the Kings ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft, Mason quickly heard from a nearby KU basketball fan.
“What?!? @FrankMason0 coming to Sacramento 4 another workout!!” wrote Jeremy Morioka on Twitter. “You work it. My little Jayhawk/Frank Mason fan would love a chance to meet ya.”
Sitting in his hotel, Mason was looking through Twitter and saw Morioka’s message.
With some extra time on his hands, Mason answered on Twitter, “I’m in Sacramento right now, I would love to meet him.”
Morioka responded that his 7-year-old son, Cooper, just put on his KU shirt and was ready to meet. Mason told them to visit the local Hyatt hotel and eventually they had an opportunity to take a photo together and chat for several minutes. Mason also signed a pair of posters.
“On game days we all gear up and everyone has got to wear their KU stuff, so (Cooper’s) used to it,” Morioka, who grew up in Lawrence, told KCRA 3 News. “Then he started to become a real fan, knowing who the players are and getting to go see a game.”
Mason posted a picture with Cooper on Twitter captioned, “My boy Cooper,” where the young fan was sporting a huge smile in his red T-shirt with a Jayhawk logo on it.
After the visit, Morioka wrote on Twitter, “Thanks @FrankMason0 Cooper was so nervous. He can't stop talking now and telling me where I have to nail the poster you signed.… @FrankMason0 was truly nice. Little man hasn't stopped smiling.”
Speaking to reporters after his workout with the Kings on the following day, Mason said he was happy to arrange the meeting because of his love for kids.
“I was just kind sitting around my hotel, going through my mentions, and I was really excited about having a few Jayhawk fans around here,” Mason said. “I love kids honestly, so I think it was pretty cool to just hang out with him for a few and him getting a chance to meet me. I think it was a pretty big deal and it’s something I’ll always be able to do.”
Mason estimated it was the “second or third” time he’s met with KU fans on the road, but it was the first time that it played out on social media.
His only wish was that he had more time to hang out with Cooper.
“It’s a great feeling. Honestly I could’ve done a lot more if I didn’t need to get my rest and get prepared for today,” Mason said. “Maybe would’ve took him out for lunch or went out and had a good time with him — more than actually sitting right there and talking. I think it’s a pretty big deal to interact with kids and show them that we’re there if we’re their role models. It’ll only get better in the future.”
Beyond putting smiles on kids’ faces, Mason had some of his own fun at the end of his workout with the Kings. Showcasing his athleticism and explosiveness, Mason put on a dunking exhibition featuring a pass off of the backboard to himself, a windmill and alley-oop reverse slams.
When Cooper was asked by a local TV station of his thoughts about Mason's play at Kansas, he summed them up in two words: “Pretty amazing.”