Boy Did Jason Gay's Carmelo Anthony Piece for the WSJ Come Out at the Wrong Time | Bob's Blitz

Boy Did Jason Gay's Carmelo Anthony Piece for the WSJ Come Out at the Wrong Time

Jason Gay dropped 'Melo Time' on an unsuspecting WSJ audience yesterday. The Knicks are in a free fall, playing their worst basketball of the year. Carmelo Anthony left a game on his own, later had his coach say he had asked out and was declined permission. Then the team made what may be the most bizarre move it has ever made -- letting Melo play last night against his old team the Nuggets because 'he wanted to' despite a knee that may need draining. Gay writes:

For most of his 10-season career, Anthony has been regarded as an offensive dynamo—Charles Barkley, the ex-player, TNT analyst and basketball's Simon Cowell, describes Anthony to me as "the best scorer in the NBA"—but there was the maddening suspicion that Anthony left potential on the table, that he lacked the crazy-eyed single-mindedness that separated the very good from the great. Melo was about Melo, too unengaged, perhaps ambivalent, the rap went.

Still goes. Jason adds, "Anthony is deep into his third season in New York, and the Knicks are playing some of their best basketball in more than a decade—the primary reason being Anthony."

"I always told friends around me, my family, my teammates, guys in the organization, this process was going to take two and a half to three years," he [Melo] says. "Just to get everything in order. Get your feet wet. Get used to it. A lot of things have become clearer to me about being in New York."

So all Melo needs to do is beat the Heat. "A CHAMPIONSHIP would change everything—those brief moments of social anonymity would surely vaporize. A title is Anthony's obvious goal, as it's flummoxed every would-be Knicks savior for the past 40 years. "If he's able to win a championship in New York," says Barkley, "it will take his legend to another level." Walt Frazier, the television analyst of the Knicks and a member of New York's last championship club, in 1972–73, agrees. "In order to authenticate your greatness, you got to have a ring," he says. 'Ask Patrick Ewing.'"

So, last night, Melo walked off the court yet again.

Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith, who played with Anthony in Denver, notices new assertiveness in his teammate. "I think he's been more of a leader," he says. "He's just been more vocal."

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