Our Celtics play the Knicks tonight, and that got me to thinking: Is Carmelo Anthony truly a selfish player, or is it a case of his reputation getting in the way of the truth? Without question, Anthony is one of the elite offensive players in the game. The man knows how to score, and he can create his own shot under even the most difficult of circumstances. But that great offensive repertoire comes at a price – Anthony needs to have the ball in his hands to score, and that usually means getting the ball to him and getting out of the way. And when that happens, the rest of the Knicks’ offense tends to get stagnant.
Same thing happened in Denver.
But does that make Anthony selfish?
“Let’s be frank about it,” Anthony said earlier this summer, as part of the US Men’s Basketball Team. “When it comes to the Knicks, we’re talking about one particular point in time. We’re talking about the whole ‘Linsanity’ thing. That’s when it started. That’s when it started to escalate as far as people saying I was selfish.”
Really? Maybe the quote was taken out of context, but – and correct me if I’m wrong – Anthony has long been considered a selfish player in the minds of many.
But then, the counter argument is that Anthony isn’t selfish. He has a gift – and that’s to score the basketball. Anthony, if guilty of anything, is guilty of being a scorer.
“There is this misconception of who he is and what he is,” said U.S. assistant coach Jim Boeheim, who coached Anthony to a national title at Syracuse in 2002-03. “This is what he does. I don’t think you should get criticized for doing what I, as a coach, want him to do, which is to score. It’s wrongful criticism. I don’t see trying to do your job as being selfish. If you have Carmelo Anthony, you want him to get the ball and you want him to score.”
After starring for Boeheim in his lone collegiate season, Anthony went on to NBA stardom with the Denver Nuggets. He returned to New York in a much-publicized trade to the Knicks, and Boeheim said he warned Anthony about the backlash he’d receive if the Knicks didn’t win.
“I told him when he went to New York if they don’t win, he’ll get the blame because that’s the way it works in New York,” Boeheim said.
Anthony agreed that much of the scrutiny he faces is a direct result of playing under a large microscope in New York.
“Now that I’m in the spotlight a lot more being in New York City, you’ve got multiple opinions,” Anthony was quoted as saying. “You’ve got everybody saying something about this, about that. For me, just play ball.
“What I realized, first of all, is to keep my mouth shut and just play ball. At the end of the day, there’s no way you can go back and forth with everybody’s opinion. I realize that.”
So, is he or isn’t he? Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.
Apparently the same can be said when it comes to gunslingers like Carmelo Anthony.
Just ask Anthony.
He’ll tell you straight up what he thinks.
Just doesn’t line up with what I see on the court.