Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mr. Can't Get Right

If most of you don’t know, my favorite current NBA player is Carmelo Anthony. No not Gilly the Kid, not Lebanon James, not even the Black Rapist himself. This is for a few reasons. One, even though he was born in NYC, he reps B-More. Now everyone knows I don’t claim B-More, but I definitely know that it is the most important city in Maryland. (Baltimore and I have a love-hate relationship but that’s another note.) I love Maryland ballers (no homo) and since I am the epitome of an “objective homer”, there was no doubt when I watched Carmelo throughout his freshman year at Syracuse that I respected and admired him. When I watched him slip to the 3rd overall pick behind bench sensation Darko Milicic (ask Detroit if they would do that twice), and go to the rebuilding Denver Nuggets, I instantly became a Nuggets fan.

But ever since Melo has been in the league, he’s been plagued by not-so-smart decisions and affiliations (not including his marriage to La-La, that was a good one). There was the first Marijuana charge at the Denver Airport, the whole “Stop Snitching” video fiasco, ANOTHER marijuana related incident, and the Knicks-Nuggets brawl of 2006. Some of these incidents have extremely bad timing, such as the K-N brawl coming while he was leading the league in scoring (he ended up averaging 28.9 ppg even after the 15 game suspension), and subsequently lead to the trade for A.I. (subsequently leading to a drop in Anthony’s ppg.). But withal, I thought that with the gold medal win in Beijing, Melo was turning a new leaf.
But then he committed the unthinkable; he refused to come out of the game when coach George Karl tried to sub him out. Now, to some other people whose basketball love and IQ are not very prudent, this might be an “Ok…” type of ordeal. But as all b-ball heads can agree, you just don’t defy your coach on the court, in-game, on NATIONAL television. If you rebel against the coach, what are other players going to think of you? Are they going to respect the coach after that if he takes no action? Are they going to respect YOU for not showing any respect? George Karl has probably been coaching basketball longer than Carmelo has been alive. If George Karl wants to take you out for a rest, just get out. Its not like he will never put you back in, YOU'RE CARMELO ANTHONY. I think a few minutes of rest won’t kill your career Melz.

That got me to thinking, why in the world would a player do that? Is it ego? Did Melo take for granted that he was NOT the coach of the Denver Nuggets or knew how to manage and make substitutions for a professional basketball team? Has someone gassed up his head so much that it caused him to do said action? Has all the accolades gone to his head? Are the Indiana Pacers that important of a team that he would want to stay in? Were Indiana Pacers standing between the Nuggets and the last spot of the Western Conference Playoff Bubble? (Not paticularly, the Nuggets are 7th in the tightly contested West)

Maybe its an intrinsic force inside Carmelo to rebel. Maybe he feels he is owed respect due to his expansive repertoire of offensive skills. Maybe the thin Denver air is getting to him. Whatever it is, Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest talents the NBA has to offer right now, but until he can get his off the court (and on the court) issues resolved within his game or within himself, he well be pounding on the glass ceiling to NBA Legendry.

Love, Peace, and Hairgrease

(had to bring the signature back)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Carmelo really reminds me of AI in a few ways: They both have a defiant attitude and have been portrayed as possessing shady and questionable characters through the media. They both have a natural talent to rack up lots and lots of buckets. Mostly though, their dread hairstyles are undeniably similar (AI shaved his head yes I know but he's always a dread head in my head!).

Only difference is that AI is rapidly approaching the end of his career whereas Carmelo is still young and has a ways to go in his. AI learnt over the years that the system is in place for a reason, and in the end he gave in to it. A good metaphor is him shaving his head. He reminds me of an once fierce bull that no longer fights his oppressors. As for Carmelo, his fate is not necessarily the same. After all, the saying goes, you fall, then you get back up and do it over again. The idea is that you get better and you learn. That takes humility to recognize that falling is part of the process. Can Carmelo learn this lesson?