The NBA has begun the second half of its egregiously long season without one of the best in the game; Carmelo Anthony. Maybe I should rephrase that opening statement to read, without one of the best front-runners in the game.
There’s no denying Anthony’s offensive greatness. For his career he’s averaged 25.3 points per game with a 45.5 shooting percentage. He’s won a scoring title (2013) and is an 8-time All-Star. When he’s career ends he will be considered one of the best scorers to ever play the game; but not one of the best.
In comparison, many NFL pundits consider Peyton Manning the greatest regular season quarterback of all-time, but not one of the greatest to ever play.
In the NBA landscape, Anthony is still considered a “superstar”; but should he be? His teams have made it out of the first round of the playoffs only twice in his ten year career. While his performance offensively doesn’t diminish (25.7 ppg) come postseason time, he doesn’t do anything to help elevate his team to the next level.
Anthony plays a selfish game. He needs the ball in his hands at all times in order to be successful. He’s not much a passer averaging 3.1 assists per game and doesn’t rebound nearly enough (6.5 per game) given his 6’8, 240lb frame. His lack of leadership was apparent while he was in Denver and has been exposed to the extreme since he forced a trade to New York to play with the Knicks. Other than being an excellent offensive player, what attributes does Anthony display to deserve the acclaim of “superstar” in the NBA?
It was reported today that Anthony will miss the rest of the season due to season ending surgery. There’s nothing wrong with an athlete needing surgery, unless it can be proven that, that athlete was prolonging the surgery so they could be the center of attention at an All-Star game in their teams’ arena. Obviously there’s no way of proving this without Anthony coming out and admitting that he knowing prolonged the surgery, but it was pretty evident for any basketball fan to realize what was going on.
If this is true, it showcases that Anthony’s more concerned with his own brand/image than he is with winning. As an athlete he would understand better than most that you have a short time to win championships; and given the fact that his trophy case is empty. Rather than get the surgery early on in the season and guarantee a full healthy season next year, Anthony chose to continue to play so he would be eligible to play in the All-Star game which was being held in New York. It’s these types of decisions that showcase his lack of leadership and intangibles that make the great players legends.
In sports, especially basketball, there’s that famous saying, “There’s no “I” in team.” Well there is in an “I” in Knicks; and they’ll never win a meaningful game as long as that type of atmosphere continues to thrive.