There’s a difference between knowing a thing and experiencing that thing. I knew, you knew, we all knew, that Carmelo Anthony would be moving on. It’s best for him, it’s best for the team, times change and nothing lasts forever. It’s all good. End the drama and get it over with.
Last night I caught a bit of video with delirious Oklahoma fans waiting at the airport to greet Melo as he arrived, smiling and bearded, and really understood he’s not a Knick anymore. And it was sad. Or maybe it was happy? At the time it sure felt sad.
Melo had been quiet about The Trade thus far, leaving his public statements to a plea for Puerto Rico:
I’ve set up a @YouCaring donation page to aid the relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Any help you can give will get directly into the hands of those who need it. I’ve been doing community work on the island for the past 10 years, but this is another level. I'm starting with an immediate $50,000 donation, that has already been matched. We need your help in this fight. (link in bio)
And the Knicks, despite trading him, have heard the call:
Knicks announce donating $100,000 to Melos fundraiser for Puerto Rico.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) September 25, 2017
(Sorry to get sidetracked, but this is far, far more important that any basketball team or sports league. Please help PR if you can.)
Finally, today (on Media day, LOL) Carmelo made it really real and posted a lengthy goodbye to New York and Knicks fans on his website. The letter is typical Melo, with random sayings that are possibly quotes and capitalizations that maybe mean something or maybe don’t. It also feels honest and heartfelt, and doesn’t gloss over the difficult parts. It reads as someone who wants to stay but had to leave. In truth, he seems more attached to the City than the team:
It’s not the end, because like I’ve always said, NYC ‘til the end.
It’s not Once a Knick Always a Knick, it’s Once a New Yorker Always a New Yorker. #OANYAANY?
The letter makes clear that New York made Melo, for better or worse. He knows that and gives (in quotation marks—is he quoting someone else? Himself? I don’t know) a succinct reason for leaving:
I had to ask myself, toward what goal or achievement am I striving in life? I know life can be full of contradictions. It can be unfair, unforgiving, too. I cannot afford to dismiss it and turn my back to the world. I was given a choice to sink or swim. I’m choosing to swim.
It’s what we all thought, and it makes sense.
Melo also shouts out to us, we who keep loving this team despite all common sense:
Thank you to All My Fans who supported me through Thick and Thin. And those who continued to support The Knicks regardless of the outcome.
(I love that “regardless of the outcome” so much.)
Go read for yourself, because whether you wanted him here or gone, this marks a huge shift in the direction of the team, the first time in decades we can reasonably talk about the ‘end of an era.’
Also, if you thought the number 7 was an “L” but no, it cannot be bound by such a small remit. Here is how Melo ends:
7eace be with you
And a7so with you, Carmelo.