New York Knicks marquee baller Carmelo Anthony is not everyone’s cup of tea. Since his early College days to his entry into the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, the small forward has had a tenancy of rubbing people up the wrong way. Whereas most people with his profile and image would heed the calls to avoid conflict and do their talking on the court, Carmelo Anthony engages in volatile trash talk that always ends with him looking bad.
If he were to stand trial for being one of the bad boys of sports, there is evidence to suggest that all the haters lack perspective and justification. As well as running successful charity ventures for underprivileged youths and disaster relief, Melo earns huge endorsement deals, has his face plastered on video games and even pops up in Common music videos and cameo appearances in Sons of Anarchy.
Jealousy breeds contempt and sometimes these types of athletes who have a brash personality will incur the wrath of fans, commentators, journalists, fellow players, coaches, sponsors and owners. Parallels can be drawn with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton who abruptly left his post Super Bowl press conference. Listening to the fall out from this supposed “debacle”, you would be forgiven for thinking this was the crime of century and the football loss was the lesser of two evils.
This is the danger of elevating the best athletes to superstardom status, where one mistake or error of judgment can lead to widespread condemnation and the players reputation is left in tatters. The media are as much to blame as anyone, perpetuating the idea that shades of grey cannot exist in a black and white world.
Because this is the environment we thrive in, people have bought into it – especially in the case of Carmelo Anthony. Here are 15 of them.
15 Gerald Wallace
The Brooklyn Nets always seem to post Gerald Wallace onto Carmelo Anthony to hustle and spoil the forward, but a lot of the time he has his pants pulled down. This 3-pointer in 2012 demonstrated why Melo’s talent is hard to contain when he gets on a roll, although Wallace has shown on the court before that he enjoys getting under his skin when they face off. Every now and again he’s kept him a bit quiet but aside from some death stares and tough looks, Wallace cannot hold a candle to Anthony. Put this one down more to an organized and orchestrated professional disagreement rather than genuine hatred.
14 Jeremy Lin
Granted this is partial speculation on our part, but there is enough evidence to suggest that Carmelo Anthony wasn’t that enamored when Linsanity kicked off and took the NBA by storm. Speaking with USA Today back in 2012, Melo went on the record to talk about how the attention and hype reflected on him. “Let’s be frank about it,” he said. “When it comes to the Knicks, we’re talking about one particular point in time. We’re talking about the whole ‘Linsanity’ thing. That’s when it started to escalate as far as people saying I was selfish.” Lin’s departure soon thereafter couldn’t have just been a coincidence.
13 Dan Shaughnessy
Whatever your opinion of sports writers and journalists (keep those to yourself thanks), they wield a reasonable amount of influence when it comes to covering the game. Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy went on the public record in 2013 to pronounce that Carmelo Anthony “will never win it all”, is a ball hog and a diva. There is no evidence to suggest that Shaughnessy has changed his tune since penning the damning piece on the Knicks star and even if somehow he took the New York franchise to playoff glory in this season or the next, you don’t write something like that in ink and expect to go back on it.
12 Jared Dudley
If this is how Carmelo Anthony reacted to every hater, then after a season he wouldn’t have any left. Washington Wizards’ Jared Dudley decided to poke the bear when he said that Melo was the most overrated player in the league, lighting the fuse for their clash in November. 37 points later in a 117-110 win was the ultimate retort and he didn’t let the chance slip later to rub it in. When asked if he heard the comments from Dudley, Melo replied, “Oh yeah, it got back to me.” Enough said.
11 Nate Robinson
That infamous Knicks and Nuggets brawl in 2006 was NBA bad blood at its worst. The 123-100 Nuggets win was only academic because the ferocity and damage caused by the fracases had serious rippling effects across the sport at the time. Ironic that he would eventually swap teams only 5 seasons after the event, but Melo’s 15 game suspension in the aftermath was the heaviest of them all. Knicks player Nate Robinson got in on the scrap and was put away for 10 games as the two came face to face. Naturally Robinson eventually found his way to the Nuggets, showing how quickly the players brushed off the incident on tribal grounds.
10 Steve Kerr
Before he went to the Golden State Warriors to create the most dynamic NBA outfit in modern history, Steve Kerr was close to joining the New York Knicks in 2014. The former Bulls champion had been critical of Melo’s selfish attitude as a commentator and that was appearing like an awkward dynamic if he did sign on. But the rest, as they say, is history. He might be facilitating egos like Steph Curry and Draymond Green, but they still put the team first. And even in the odd case they don’t, the results give them license to strut their stuff. Kerr’s overall approach does not seem to gel with Anthony’s style and his open criticism was a window into that hypothetical relationship.
9 Marlon Wayans
When Carmelo was exploring free agency in 2014, actor Marlon Wayans stood by the marquee Knicks man as a fan of the franchise since his boyhood days. Perhaps in his own comedic way he wanted to take a surprise TMZ interview and run with it, but when he was asked who would win a fight between Kevin Garnett and Anthony, he backed his long term nemesis and not Melo. If you’re a true fan of the Knicks and you side with Garnett over Carmelo, then you’ve lost a key constituent.
8 Reggie Miller
Of all the people in the NBA to have authority on the matter of judging Carmelo Anthony as a basketball player, then Reggie Miller has it. The Indiana Pacers legend and 5-time All-Star went to town on Melo last year when he said that the Knicks star was resting and prioritizing the All-Star game and London fixture ahead of the rest of the season. Talking with the New York Post, Miller put his views on the matter bluntly. “The team is tanking, and to have a guy just to represent your organization, I have a problem with that … To me, that’s selfish.”
7 George Karl
Veteran NBA coach George Karl has been around the block a few times and when he was heading the Denver Nuggets, Melo was one of his best assets. But since the pair went their separate ways, neither man would admit to being on the Christmas card list of the other. Anthony went on Twitter to inadvertently call Karl a snake with the coach hitting back that Carmelo cannot handle the pressure and responsibility of being the premier player at a franchise. Not exactly BFFs anymore in that case.
6 Mike D’Antoni
Like any scenario where the biggest player in the dressing room angles for the coach to get fired, no one ever makes it official but everyone knows that’s what happened. It took a big loss to the Philadelphia 76ers of all teams before the Knicks wielded the axe on the ailing coach, but behind the scenes it was clear he’d lost all support and confidence of D’Antoni. We saw it this season when Blatt was sent packing on the (unofficial) orders of LeBron because the ego needs to be satisfied.
5 Tim Hardaway
Hurting team unity and spirit is a key accusation often leveled at Carmelo. When it came to teammate Tim Hardaway at the Knicks, news leaked from inside the camp that Melo had threatened the young baller with physical violence, saying he would literally beat him up over a dispute between the pair. Unnamed sources were quoted until it became a case of “he said” and “she said” this and that. Hardaway’s departure left a bitter taste because we never knew if the feud halted his development at NBA level.
4 Mardy Collins
You don’t get punched in the face on the court and expect to ever kiss and make up. That’s not how it works. Former Knicks guard Mardy Collins got in on the action at Madison Square Garden when the brawl went down and the moment was the catalyst and one of the major instigators for Melo to cop such a hefty suspension by clocking Collins on the chin. Most occasions when passions go beyond the pale on the court, players will push and shove but the spectacle is nothing more than handbags being thrown around. This time Melo decided to clock him, and it cost Anthony dearly.
3 Charles Barkley
When a retired legend has an ongoing feud with one of the leading players in the game, it makes for great watching/listening/reading. The media laps it up and the headlines write themselves, but the tension between big Charles and Melo doesn’t have a great origin story. Simply put, Barkley offered some mild criticism during his commentary role – these remarks got make to Anthony – and he fired back using the press as his weapon. Party A accuses Party B of not having enough leadership skills, Party B retorts to say they don’t know what it’s like in the dressing room etc. Regardless, Barkley and Carmelo don’t get along.
2 Derek Fisher
Fresh from his firing at the hands of Phil Jackson and the Knicks organization, Derek Fisher will look back on his time in New York with a handful of fond memories mixed with a number of regrets. The forward came out to say he was surprised and saddened by the decision, leaving many to think everything between the pair was above board. In some circles he was even credited with reviving Melo’s career at one point, something no other Knicks coach has managed. But when his job was on the line he needed his star man to deliver and a key reason why he is without a head coaching job is because of Anthony.
1 Kevin Garnett
OK, we’ve saved the best for last. Only one man really does reserve the right to not like and, shall we say, hate Carmelo Anthony – Kevin Garnett. The Minnesota Timberwolves veteran crossed the line when he trash talked Melo over his wife, allegedly saying she, “Tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.” In 2013 TMZ went behind the scenes after the game to catch an altercation off the court to prove that the story had legs, outlining just how much bad blood is felt between the pair.
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