By Jared Max
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NFL players drop out of the Pro Bowl like sugar that leaks from a ripped paper bag. It is a non-story. So why are we supposed to care if Carmelo Anthony plays in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game?

For the second time in three years just prior to the All-Star break, Anthony has drawn attention to himself by trying to create drama over whether or not an injury will prevent him from playing in the All-Star game.

I have seen this show before, though. It is as predictable as the first time.

Before the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, Anthony tried to deflect attention from a 5-for-24 shooting night in a Knicks loss by citing a “deep” arm contusion. To add legitimacy to his excuse, the Knicks’ forward portrayed a serious injury.

“I’m not going to force it, definitely not going to force it,” he said at the time. “As bad as I want to play in the All-Star game, participate, if I can’t go I can’t go. Nothing I can do about that.”

Four days later, Anthony led the Eastern Conference All-Star team with 26 points and seven assists.

Fast forward two years to this past Monday night. After a Knicks loss to Miami in which Carmelo tweaked his left knee, he painted a daunting picture about his participation in the All-Star game. The words he shared with reporters were nearly identical to his woe-is-me spiel from days before the 2013 NBA All-Star game.

On Monday night, Anthony proclaimed, “Of course I would love to play. But if I can’t, I can’t. I won’t even try to force it even though the game will be in New York and I would love to play in front of that crowd. But if I can’t go, I can’t go.”

LOL.

If a person could be found guilty of plagiarizing himself, Melo would face a first-degree charge.

If he had to pull a Willis Reed, Anthony would do so to play in an All-Star game at Madison Square Garden. Of course, Willis Reed would not have pulled a Willis Reed unless it was the NBA Finals. Reed knew that there are no small parts, but only small actors.

For somebody who has missed 13 games due to injury this season — including two of the final three leading into the All-Star break — I would think that a decision to sit out an exhibition game would be a no-brainer. If I were a Knicks fan, I’d expect that my favorite team would be the focus of its most talented player, too.

And I would expect fellow Knicks fans to share my take on Melo by quoting Coach Norman Dale from “Hoosiers”: “I don’t care if you play on the (All-Star) team or not.”

A spectator during Wednesday night’s Knicks loss in Orlando, Carmelo provided an update on his All-Star game status.

“I’m going to try.” he told Newsday. “I’m going to try. Today’s Wednesday. The game is on Sunday. I feel better today than I did yesterday.”

Whew!

If you still expect Anthony to miss this All-Star party, you were probably shocked, too, when Bobby Brady miraculously recovered from a “sickness” to play catch with Joe Namath in his backyard.

Not only will Anthony play All-Star Game host and ambassador, but he will relish playing basketball on Sunday with the NBA’s best players. The All-Star game is what matters to Melo. The Olympics, too. Big-ticket items. High individual payouts.

I would include NBA championships here, too,  but they require too much boring work and personal compromise.

Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, “Maxed Out” — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.

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