By Jason Keidel
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There’s no shame in that shellacking in Miami. But it could disturb your digestion when you consider exactly who did it. Last night was a composite of consolation prizes. Miami got LeBron; New York got Carmelo. Carmelo took all the shots; Miami got all the points.
In a league guided by stars, it’s alarming to see that LeBron James – who’s nearly impossible to like personally – is galaxies ahead of Carmelo Anthony. I, for one, spent all my money last night on all the posters LeBron put on Tyson Chandler.
And there’s no shame in Jeremy Lin losing his hypnotic grip on the sport (and the world) for a night. We can’t imagine what it feels like to ascend from scrub to starter to national landmark in two weeks. No one needs this All-Star break more than the progenitor of Linsanity, whom we hope returns to meteoric form next week.
I digress. This missive is for the Carmelo Kool-Aid guzzlers. And there are many of you, limping like zombies through cyberspace. My argument that Carmelo Anthony won’t lead the Knicks to a championship is only based on the reality that he’s never won one, joined a team that last won one before he was born, and that the two have teetered together. They did nothing last year, started 9-15 this year, and are 1-2 now that Carmelo has rejoined Jeremy Lin. These are facts, and they are most irritating when they interfere with your theories, hopes, or delusions.
(Please don’t email after every game with “I told you so!” This debate is entrenched in long-term results, not transitory winter nights against the Nets. And if your message includes any profanity, it will be deleted.)
Indeed, my inbox bulged with gibberish. You lean on non sequiturs like Syracuse and the Olympics. This is about the Knicks – their nostrils just above .500 last year before they traded three players and spent $100 million to remain a .500 team. Forgive some of us for not seeing the gleaming logic behind that transaction.
Back to the Kool-Aid tank, now welded to your Carmelo man cave. There’s a consistent quality among you. It’s far easier to shriek at us who identify the problem than to abandon the fantasy that your favorite player plays like a champion. If yesterday served any purpose, it’s that watching four Knicks watch Carmelo dribble and shoot didn’t work last year, won’t work this year, and will fail next year. (Hey, at least he got one assist last night.)
Yes, yes, Lin will play better, as will the Knickerbockers, and they will win enough to make the playoffs. Then they will lose in the playoffs, and you will go into hiding, swapping your Knicks jersey for something more palatable. This is the modus operandi of the Knicks propagandist.
Maybe the most disturbing part of this Carmelo Kool-Aid addiction is that so many of you claim to be basketball devotees, experts on the hardwood. If so, you should be the last to boast that a 17-18 team is on the fast track to the finals, and be the first to see that passing the basketball is winning basketball. And while Carmelo Anthony is a fine scorer, he does not make his teammates markedly better. But you must know what you’re talking about since you voted him into the starting lineup of the All-Star game! (Never mind that the other nine starters play for winning teams.)
It’s your right to worship a team that hasn’t won since George Foreman fought Ken Norton in Caracas. And it’s also your right to worship a player who hasn’t sniffed the NBA Finals in eight seasons. But their failures aren’t my fault.
Nothing bugs a man more than telling him his hero isn’t heroic. The best answer is to pick better heroes, not to blame some writer you’ve never met.
Feel free to email me: Keidel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you agree that the Knicks won’t succeed behind Melo? Sound off below…