Keidel: Carmelo’s Unhappy Homecoming
By Jason Keidel
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I’m coming home,
I’m coming home…
As the New York Knickerbockers – your brooding band of ballers – stare at the ceiling after another loss to a putrid team, you simultaneously slouch into your couch, all manner of men and millionaires in a funk over the funky play.
As you pout in your apartment, swathed in a Carmelo Snuggie, fingers pounding the keyboard in response, you’ll join the chorus questioning my ancestry, sanity, and sexual preference. It has been a daily delight to open my mail since I asserted that I was right and you were wrong about this deal.
Tell the world I’m coming home…
Shattering this great group hug is the eternal maxim that in team sports – particularly basketball – it takes more than an amalgam of millionaires to win a title. New Yorkers, renowned for a high sporting I.Q., have been alarmingly adolescent in their adoration of a group of guys who, aside from Billups, has won bupkis.
Let the rain wash away,
All the pain of yesterday…
If I recall correctly, the mantra was that the Knickerbockers got two of the ten best players in the league, which is what you need to win a title. Doesn’t that at least get you a .500 record? The problem with making so many excuses for the Knicks is you must keep track of them. Here’s one that should be rather easy to remember: They suck.
“I was born on May 29, 1984, in Brooklyn, NY”
(Forget that I was raised in Baltimore.)
You shoved all your chips in with ‘Melo, and you can’t accept to see your stack slip away with each flop against floundering teams. Denver is doing just fine, by the way.
“George Karl is a better coach than Mike D’Antoni!” you bellow.
That’s correct. And you’ll notice coach Karl was the first to dart to the door, busting it wide open for Carmelo’s hasty exit. D’Antoni’s ability wasn’t questioned until Saint Anthony arrived. That’s because the blame can’t fall on your cherished millionaires. You’re blinded by violent bias. It’s a players’ league, until the players bomb. Then it’s the coach’s fault. Or it’s my fault. Or it’s Peter Vecsey’s fault.
“They started calling me little New York”
Pundits and fans who crowned the Knicks on Feb. 22 are moonwalking from the proclamations, suddenly sagacious, the group monotone explaining some abstract “building process.”
Why doesn’t Denver need this time to coalesce? They’re only 12-4 since they got three good, young players from your Knickerbockers. Don’t tell me about the softies Denver dominated when the Knicks can’t top Indiana, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.
“And New York this…or New York that”
Before he entered the NBA, Carmelo Anthony took Syracuse on a transcendent run to the NCAA championship. One player can do that in college. Kemba Walker just might do the same thing this weekend. Neither will do it in the pros.
“In New York, there’s a basketball on every corner”
Even Michael Jordan – who’s infinitely better than Carmelo will ever be – needed Pippen and Grant and Rodman, and a coach who coaxed the team away from the giant ego trip the Knicks are on, in warp drive.
“Basketball is all we really knew”
Forget, for a moment, the merits of the trade. Have you forgotten who owns this team? James Dolan still thinks Isiah Thomas is a genius. “Zeke” would still be at the helm if Dolan had any assurance that New Yorkers wouldn’t toss Molotov cocktails at him during games.
Forget that Jimmy jacked up ticket prices to watch them lose. Consider the moniker of MSG: “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
Ponder that, please. It doesn’t say “Most Successful Arena” or “Most Champions Arena,” but, most importantly and revealingly, Most Famous. The Knicks are the essence of style, while substance has eluded them since 1973, when Hall of Famers hacked off precious parts of their games for the good of the body, the team, the time, the title.
I’ve gotten emails declaring the Garden a “destination” now that ‘Melo makes MSG his office.
Who gives a damn? The hardwood destination is always mediocrity. Just ship the meat of the team to the Rockies and slap “‘Melo” on the marquee. Maybe I want ‘Melo leading my team. Maybe I want Amar’e leading my team. But I don’t want both. Remember when Amar’e was the NBA MVP? Since the trade, a sudden sense of fatigue has overcome “STAT” in his prime. He never got tired in Phoenix, when he had to pant all over the place chasing Steve Nash. All of this happened after the Savior arrived in February.
“I wanted to be Bernard King”
(Forget that I was in diapers when King was in his prime.)
Speaking of Bernard King…
Fear not, sports fans, for none other than Bernard King, joined by King James (you call him LeBron), assured us over the weekend that the Knicks are just fine. I did poorly in school but even I can add to zero – the combined titles each King won in about 20 years of NBA experience. (In fairness to Bernard, he’s covering Carmelo’s behind because of the aforementioned adulation that has so publicly polluted the air since the trade.)
“The team before the trade was barely over .500,” you reply. Well, at least they were over .500. They were young, cheap, and fun. And the Knicks had mad room under the cap. Now you’ve got bloated contracts, egos, and ticket prices. Sound familiar?
This trade was about this year until it became about next year. 7-12 will do that to a fella, and a franchise.
I know my kingdom awaits,
And they’ve forgiven my mistakes…
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
Agree? Disagree? Let Keidel know in the comments below…