On Monday afternoon, Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement on Instagram after a 19-year NBA career. He is best known for his first eight seasons in the NBA as a Denver Nugget, followed by seven seasons as a New York Knick.
On Monday night, the Nuggets made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history after a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team Anthony played for last season.
Talk about irony. Talk about poetry. Talk about symmetry.
The Nuggets get to celebrate their biggest moment in franchise history while Anthony retires with regrets about what could have been in his career.
There’s a good chance the Nuggets could win the NBA championship in a few weeks due to the brilliance of Nikola Jokic. That was something Anthony could never do for them, bailing out after eight frustrating seasons. He figured he could go to New York and build a super team the way LeBron James did with Miami when he took his talents to South Beach in 2010.
It never worked out that way. Outside of Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd, no one really wanted to play with him. Who can blame them when Anthony was such a ball hog that they would never get an opportunity to display their talent?
This summed up Anthony’s career as a New York Knick. A player who was more concerned about his personal stats than winning. A player who focused more on being a scorer rather than a facilitator. A player who couldn’t bother to defend as he was waiting for the ball.
The 10-time All-Star didn’t do much winning here. He only got past the first round once as a New York Knick, and after that, he missed the playoffs for the rest of his forgettable time here. He made the playoffs only three times in his Knicks tenure. That itself should qualify as failure here.
The Knicks acquired Anthony with the idea he would end the team’s championship drought. Instead, he brought drama and plenty of losing. Multiple coaches came and went on his watch, and executives too. Plenty of executives came and went under his watch. A lot of his teammates left because they couldn’t stand playing with him.
This does not sound like a player that should be remembered fondly.
It’s amusing that the local media and Knicks fans offered plenty of nice testimonials for Anthony this week. He was made a martyr since then-Knicks executive Phil Jackson did not field better talent around him. It was everyone’s fault but his.
Anthony’s Waterloo moment with the Knicks came when he ran Jeremy Lin out of town. When Lin flourished during Anthony’s absence as the Knicks won, the Knicks star pouted. As soon as he was healthy, he was going to make Lin’s life miserable and he did just that along with having guys like Smith against him.
Then-Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni had no interest in coaching Anthony, because Anthony’s iso-ball was not conducive to the head coach’s seven seconds or less offense, which requires plenty of passing. Eventually, D’Antoni resigned.
Then the Knicks basically fired Donnie Walsh after Anthony couldn’t stand him.
This should be Anthony’s legacy along with Roy Hibbert’s block of his attempted layup in Game 6 that fueled the Pacers run that the Knicks couldn’t recover from.
It’s laughable to hear that the Knicks may retire his jersey. He never elevated this franchise. He never offered great moments for the team other than his personal scoring output, such as his career-high 62 points against the woeful then-Charlotte Bobcats, setting a Knicks and Madison Square Garden’s single-scoring record.
Sure, he retires as the No. 9 scorer in league history with 28,289 points. He was selected as one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history. So what? This does nothing when he never made an impact in winning. This is why he really is not a Hall of Famer, let alone a Knick great.
Anthony should be remembered for being a diva and prima donna. He was no better than Stephen Marbury when you really think about the lack of impact both had with the Knicks.
Anthony was symbolic of one of the sport’s most dysfunctional franchises with every petulant move.
The six-time All-NBA star played when he wanted to play, acted when he wanted to act and lacked charm.
His bobos will say he was one guy that wanted the challenge of playing the Knicks while most stars looked away. I say nonsense. He wanted to come to New York to enjoy the lifestyle of being in the big city. It had nothing to do with wanting to win with the Knicks.
If he was serious about winning, he would have worked hard on his defense and being a pass-first player. If he cared about winning, he would have worked hard to coexist with Lin and form a winning team.
There was nothing endearing about him in his time here. Even when he put on great offensive displays, it meant little since the team did not really win. It was hard to enjoy iso ball with him.
Forget that he wasn’t what Patrick Ewing was for the Knicks. He wasn’t what Jalen Brunson is doing here, either.
All the Knicks did was lose with Anthony.
I doubt I will remember him any differently 10 years from now.
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