"I know what we have as teammates. Nobody can come between us despite what anybody says. Nobody."
So touching were Melo's words, I feel compelled to write them in verse:
"When things are going good
They put you way up there.
When things are going bad
They kick the chair from underneath you.
Those are experiences that he is going to have to go through.
But if I can be there
And be that guy who can grab him up
and say everything is going to be all right.
I'm going to do that ..."
In all seriousness, though, it's wonderful to see Melo take the potential superstar rookie under his wing .. not just in word, but in deed. He took Kristaps (and other Knicks youngsters) with him to Puerto Rico, practiced with Kristaps during the summer, and has generally looked out for him at every step along the way.
The veteran forward doesn't have the strongest reputation as a team player among many fans, but much of that stems from hearsay. Former teammates -- college, NBA and national team -- typically speak highly of Melo. Arron Afflalo was excited to renew their Denver partnership.
But this Melo/Kristaps relationship seems different than anything that has come before. Melo clearly recognizes greatness in the kid, and is doing his best to nurture it.