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A purely selfish reason Knicks fans should cheer Carmelo Anthony’s MSG return

Let’s cheer him once, and be done with it.

NBA: New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony returns to Madison Square Garden Saturday night for the first time Saturday night, which means a lot of talk about what exactly the Knicks fans have in store for their once-beloved superstar forward. Will the fans cheer, or will they boo?

This article is directed toward any fan going to the game tonight who might feel compelled to boo, or at least is considering it. Please don’t.

This is not about Melo, whose Knicks legacy can rightfully be argued for or against in many different ways. Personally I enjoyed covering him—he is a fundamentally decent and interesting human being in a time when many people in the people sphere are not—but I also don’t miss him. I’m perfectly happy with Lance Thomas and Doug McDermott sharing time at the 3. No, this is about how we fans will be judged. The return of a former star player is one of those moments that tends to define fan bases for years to come.

Which is exactly why you shouldn’t boo, my friends. Think of it in purely selfish terms—if you boo, this game will be brought up ad nauseam every time Melo and the Knicks are mentioned in the same sentence, from now until the end of time.

—When Melo returns to the Garden next season, and the season after that, the story will be: “Remember When Knicks Fans Booed Melo His First Game Back?”

—When Melo enters the Hall of Fame, the story will be: “Remember When Knicks Fans Booed Melo His First Game Back?”

—When 88-year-old Melo makes an appearance at Madison Square Garden VI for the 40th annual James Dolan Kazoo Festival, the story will get the idea.

Melo was pretty great for the Knicks, won some games, lost some games, made some questionable decisions, and now he’s gone. All you, the Garden faithful, have to do tonight is cheer him politely for a few seconds, and this story will go away forever. Do it for yourselves, Knicks fans.