2024- A well dressed, but disheveled Amar'e Stoudemire is sitting across a table from Frank Isola and Marc Berman
Amar'e: That's all I know, fella, I have't seen Melo since that night in 2014, unseasonably warm in February. You have the files, you know that night I'm talking about. It was all over the paper...blogs...whatever they had then. Memes. GIFs. Vines. I never really go into that stuff. Been in the Promise Keepers for a while.
Isola: Don't you think it's a little odd that right around the same time he shows back up, Mike Woodson, the same Mike Woodson that he confronted right before he disappeared, is found buried under a pile of frosted donuts? There have been bodies found all over the city with those frosted donuts smeared all over their faces.
Berman: You really haven't see or heard from him in ten years? What happened?
Amar'e: I musta told this story at every basketball bar from here to Israel. Melo was havin' himself one-a those games where he's the only one that looks like he knew what was goin' on. Shot after shot falling, raining like it rains on the bayou from time to time. Ya know, people would get on him for his defense, but he tried damnit, we all tried. Well, besides Tyson those days. Anyway, towards the end, right in the final moments, he was right up on that German fella. Derrick or somethin'. He was right up onem and he leaned back threw up a shot and prayed. Now, I've always been a religious man, but that wasn't Melo's thing. So there was prayin' and the ball, that fuckin' ball man, that ball hit the rim, bounced up...man I saw the faces in the crowd. We all did. It went in. I don't know what else to say. Melo took it hard.
Isola: We know he did. We talked to him the other day. He's changed in the last 10 years.
Amar'e: A man's game changes a man. Take that away from this if nothing else.
Carmelo Anthony is sitting at a different table, the room is darker. Across are Isola and Berman. He has the face of a much older man, his hair falling down the sides of his orange headband.
Carmelo: I told ya fellas. It's Thursday and it's past noon. Thursday is one of my days off. On my days off I start drinking chocolate milk at noon. You don't get to interrupt that.
Chocolate milk containers are stacked in front of him. As he talks, he is ripping them into shapes.
Berman: Fine. Drink your milk. You just have to answer some questions. Why did you leave the Knicks?
Carmelo: That team is like a memory of a team. And that memory is fading. I feel bad for the fans. The hubris it must take to yank a soul out of non existence, into that, the Knicks. And force a life into that state a being. Yeah, James Dolan, he spared me the sin of being a Knick.
Isola: Hey, I won't argue. But where have you been since that night. The night of the bouncing shot?
Carmelo: I'd consider myself a power forward, alright? But in basketball terms, at least according to some, I'm what's called a small forward...
Berman: Wait, what...we weren't even talking about that...
Carmelo: I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution, especially Mike Woodson. He became too self-aware. The Knicks created an aspect of basketball separate from itself - they are a team that should not exist by natural law... We are things that labor under the illusion of having a chance at a title, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact they are nobody... I thought the honorable thing for the Knicks to do is to deny their programming. Stop trading draft picks and assests, walk hand in hand into tanking - one last midnight, brothers opting out of a raw deal.
Isola: SO WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MELO?
Carmelo: I can't say the team made me this way. More like me being this way made me right for the team, at least for a while. I used to think about it more, but you reach a certain age you know who you are. Now I live in a little room, out in the country behind a gym, play some one-on-one three nights a week and in between I drink chocolate milk. And there ain't nobody there to stop me or miss shots around me. I know who I am. And after all these years, there's a victory in that.
END OF PART ONE