We don't typically think of athletes as being both physically and artistically gifted (see exhibit A), but recently there have been several pro players and former players who have made successful transitions into the art world at various levels.

Shaquille O'Neal is curating an exhibition at EXPO Chicago, former point guard Elliot Perry and his wife shared their collection of works by African American artists in an exhibition at the Flint Institute of Arts back in January, and athletes like Tyson Chandler, Ryan Cardone, and Larry Johnson have more than dabbled in photography, painting, and other forms of artistic expression. There may be some connection between the brain of an athlete and the discipline of art that has not been fully explored yet, and maybe Desmond Mason's new exhibition of paintings will get the ball rolling on that discussion.

The former Seattle Supersonics draft pick and NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner opened a solo show of abstract paintings at Axis Gallery in Seattle on Sept. 19. According to the Seattle Times, the show was a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound organization and featured 18 of Mason's works. Last year, he managed to sell 61 works in two hours and raised $144,000 for charities in Oklahoma.

"I understand what basketball gave me the opportunity to do," Mason told the Seattle Times. "It gave me a platform to display my art on a high level. But no one is going to buy a painting from Desmond Mason for $15,000 just because he played for the Seattle Sonics and Milwaukee Bucks. There’s a limit. Now, it’s not so much about me playing basketball. It’s more about they love what they’re looking at." 

Check out a few of Mason's paintings below and head to his website for more.

[via Artnet]