Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks
Carmelo's relationship with the Knicks began on May 29, 1984 when Anthony was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up a Knicks fan and always dreamed of playing for the Knicks. Anthony said "I was born on May 29, 1984. In Brooklyn, New York. They started calling me 'Little New York'...'New York this'..."New York that'". In New York, there's a basketball court at every corner. Basketball is all we really knew. I wanted to be Bernard King". His arrival plus the (at the time) recent arrival of Amar'e Stoudemire was supposed to be the saviors of the Knicks. However him and Amar'e never clicked, leading to their greatest accomplishment being an Eastern Conference semi-finals appearance in 2012.
Carmelo Anthony arrived to the Knicks during the 2010 season, where he joined Amar'e Stoudemire who had become a New York icon in his first year with the team. Together they made the playoffs three straight seasons from 2010-2013, after the Knicks hadn't made the playoffs since 2003. He seemed to take over and take away Amar'e's star-like capabilities. The common "pass the ball" could be heard in the rafters of MSG. As fans began to blame Anthony's ball hogging ways, when the Knicks couldn't make it past the conference semi-finals and struggled in the playoffs.
2011-2012 became the season of Linsanity, when the unusual garbage-time player transformed into an unstoppable superstar. Jeremy Lin, a bench player from Harvard, became a folk hero in New York for weeks. His rise to stardom began on February 4th, 2012 after Mike D'Antoni looked for a spark because the Knicks had lost 11 of their last 13. He got this spark from a less than likely sole, Jeremy Lin who became a worldwide phenomenon, from his rags to riches story to his rise to stardom. He had so many great moments causing the basketball world to become obsessed with Knicks: from his 38 point performance against Kobe and the Lakers to his first game winner against the Raptors on Valentine's day.
Jeremy Lin's rise to stardom occurred while Anthony was facing a groin injury. By this time New York fans had begun to realize the ball-hoggish nature of Anthony and were worried about how his return would affect their winning times. After winning 8 of their last nine, Anthony returned and the Knicks lost to the Nets 100-92. During Lin's time with the Knicks Carmelo said all the right things, he didn't want to take away from Lin's spotlight. However many knew that his jealousy was building up inside of him. He saw a Garden crowd forget about him and fall in love with another player. The classic teenage relationship conflict. During Lin's free agency viewers learned how Anthony actually felt. After the Rockets made an offer to Lin, Melo said that "It's not up to me. It's up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract." The use of the term ridiculous proves that he wasn't the biggest fan of Linsanity he wanted to be the one that brought success to New York not some Harvard Grad. This was the beginning of the end of the Era of Good Feelings in New York Basketball...
What happens when you mix one of the smartest minds in basketball with the Knicks? Yep you guessed it, more and more dysfunction. Phil Jackson came to the Knicks with the reputation of the greatest mind in basketball, toting his 10 championship rings on his fingers. He was supposed to be the savior, the one that brought stability and winning to the New York Knickerbockers. Many basketball fans were blind sighted by the all mighty Phil Jackson coming to New York, to realize that being a president of a team is much different than being a coach. As a coach you build a relationship with players and have more of a direct role on the success of a team. However a president makes decisions on player personnel. Phil Jackson decided he would combine both these roles, he believed that his triangle offense was the future of basketball. He forced this coaching style on Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, and Jeff Hornaceck. None of them had success. The triangle offense showed signs of weakness, as the Knicks didn't have all time greats like Kobe, Shaq, and Michael Jordan using this offense. His weird ways of getting into players heads pushed Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis away from the organization. Jackson said that Carmelo "would be better off somewhere else". This comment plus past comments about Anthony not only infuriated Carmelo, but also Kristaps. Porzingis skipped exit meetings at the end of the 2016-2017 season because of the disgust of the organization. Phil Jackson's final straw as the Knicks' President was when he was thinking about trading Kristaps Porzingis. His greatest contribution to the Knicks organization was his lucky pick of Kristaps Porzingis. But other than that he arguably put the Knicks organization in a worse place than when he started and pushed one of the all time greats out of the Garden.
As a Knicks fan who wasn't alive for the successful New York teams, I was fond of Carmelo who brought for some time meaning to New York basketball. I totally agree that he was sometimes a ball hog, but to me that was his only downfall. I don't think any other player could have brought more success to the Knicks. Since the 2000s the Knicks have always been a dysfunctional team from top to bottom. However the addition of Carmelo gave Knicks fans a reason to smile, as we saw for his first 6 years a player that cared about winning and New York. In all I want to say thank you to a future hall of famer and one of the greatest Knicks ever.