You may remember that two weeks ago, the inimitable Stingy wrote a bit about a video series VICE Sports is doing with Carmelo Anthony. Well, part three posted this morning.
In case you don't want to watch an 8-minute video about Melo, I did it for you!
Carmelo opened the video by saying something pretty interesting.
New York is the greatest city on the planet, I think. But you're not a New Yorker if you don't wake up some days and be like "man, fuck this place."
Hopefully the media doesn't turn this into the latest entry of "Melo wants to be traded even though he signed a 5-year contract with the Knicks" because that quote is 100% true. I don't live in New York, but I've been there often enough and know enough people who do live in the city to be confident in its accuracy.
Next, Melo took VICE to a training session at Terminal 23. To my surprise, he was joined by a special guest: Iman Shumpert! Shump is currently rehabbing a wrist injury and must be doing so in New York. It makes sense, considering he quite likely still lives here during the offseason. Regardless of the reason for his presence, I'm glad he was there, because the cameras caught this classic exchange:
Shump: You think they gonna let me hoop [in the Knicks' practice facility], or nah?
Melo: I dunno, man.
Shump: As long as I ain't gotta see Phil.
I mean, I certainly don't blame Shump for disliking Phil Jackson, considering that he both traded Shump for literally nothing and almost literally called him a baby after the fact, but damn Shump, that's cold.
Anyway, back to Melo. He talked a lot in this video about his view on the pressure of playing in New York. Here are a few choice quotes:
This is the hardest place to have a bad anything.
You want to, just, relax, and not have to listen to that shit sometimes. But I always say: "You are what the headlines say you are."
If you say something, you're a fucked up person. If you don't say something, you're a fucked up person.
I think it's safe to say that, 4 and a half years after he was first traded to the Knicks, Melo knows a vocal segment of the public feels he is a selfish player. We've talked in the past about how Melo often says weird things at inopportune times (just recently, he made some odd comments about Kristaps Porzingis!), and I think that happens for two reasons: one, he's not very forward-thinking, in that it seems like he rarely considers the consequences of things he wants to say; and two, he feels trapped by the nature of the New York media.
On that second thing: those three quotes above explain Melo's mindset. The 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons were terrible for the Knicks, generally, and Carmelo Anthony, specifically. Even though Melo had an excellent season in 2013-14, possibly the best of his career, the team as a whole was a failure. And, of course, last season was a disaster for both the team and Melo. The headlines over that time blamed Melo for those failures. Therefore, based on his logic, Carmelo Anthony is selfish player who can't help a team win, no matter what he feels is the truth. He'd like to be able to defend himself to the media, but like he says in that third quote, he really can't win. If he defends himself, he's talking the talk but not walking the walk. If he doesn't defend himself, the narrative must be true because he hasn't said otherwise. Melo feels trapped, and I think that feeling leads in part to some of the more questionable things he says. Melo needs to learn that he can't change the opinions of idiots; these quotes make it seem like he might finally have done so.
Here are some other cool/weird things that came up in this video:
- Melo majored in photography at Syracuse! He said he only picked it because he had no time to decide on a major he liked, but that he's happy he made that decision because he really loves photography now.
- He likes to buy art made by artists who are still living because, and I'm paraphrasing here, he doesn't think it's worthwhile to give money to dead people.
- Melo's childhood apartment in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is a museum of some sort now.
- When he lived in that apartment, his bedroom window gave a direct view of the basketball court outside. Supposedly, he sat at the window constantly, waiting for the older children to leave so he could play.
- He referred to himself as "a caged animal," specifically a tiger, due to having not played since February.
That's pretty much the size of it! While there's no doubt this wasn't complete insight into Carmelo Anthony, I do think he said some pretty interesting things. Two days until the opener, people.