LOS ANGELES and SHANGHAI — Mason Plumlee knew it was a special moment, but didn’t expect to see it featured on CNN on Wednesday. But there it was: an article about his younger brother, Marshall, graduating from United States Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“Everybody sent it to me, but when they sent me the CNN link, I was a little surprised,” Mason tells CloseUp360 in Shanghai. “But I’m happy for him. I think it just showed [that] a lot of people go through that process and graduate Ranger School, but just because he played basketball, it brought a little more attention to it.”
Mason, the Denver Nuggets center and middle of the three Plumlee brothers, didn’t get to join his family at Marshall’s graduation from Ranger School. Instead, he’s serving his country in a different capacity: as a member of USA Basketball’s 12-man roster at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.
“It’s an honor,” he tells CloseUp360 after a recent Team USA practice in Los Angeles, “but it’s a bigger responsibility to represent the country, and to go out there and leave it all on the floor.”
Mason, 29, may not be risking his life quite like Marshall, 27, will when the latter embarks as a Ranger in the field. Nor did qualifying for Team USA’s roster require surviving quite the same rigors as Marshall’s admittance into the Rangers, which saw him and his classmates spend 62 days training to work in the woods, mountains and swamplands with limited food and rest.
But amid the physicality of international basketball, under FIBA’s rough-and-tumble rules, Mason’s long limbs could be at stake to some degree. To that end, representing his country overseas again comes as a combination of service and sports for Mason in a family that’s sustained a sense of duty through the generations.