The long goodbye to franchise player Carmelo Anthony may have started last year, but in the end the trade went off so quickly (and so in the middle of so many other Newsworthy Sporting Matters) that no official-seeming wrap-up of his reign has happened.
Sport fisherman and police-dog lover Lance Thomas wrote a very personal and touching goodbye to Melo over at the Player’s Tribune. Read the whole thing over there—it’s nice.
BUT THAT’S NOT WHY WE’RE HERE.
The leitmotif of Lance’s letter is a long anecdote about an anonymous and assured young’un:
There was one thing that happened last season that I’ll never forget: Remember when we were in L.A., and after the game, we were sitting at the back of the team bus cracking jokes? One of our young players — I won’t even put him on blast by giving his name — called you out. He said he could take you one-on-one.
You just nodded with a smile, and you told him, “Alright. If that’s what you want, that’s what you gonna get.”
So the next day, we have a good practice, and at the end I start hyping things up saying, “Alright Mel, what’s up? Watchu gonna do? He called you out!” And you look at me and say, “Come here and watch what I do to this boy.”
Now all the guys kind of line up around the court in anticipation. Everybody’s getting into it and we’re all pretty hyped.
You guys start playing, and from the jump you just put on a clinic. Like you’re pulling out all these unbelievable moves and making shots from wherever you want on the court. It was Hoodie Melo times 10. And the whole time, you had that same grin on your face.
I just stood there grinning too, looking on like a fan — and I am a fan.
At one point you look up at the guy and say, “You know what island you on?”
And he says, “What?”
“A lot of people die on this island right here,” you say. “I don’t think you wanted to come here!”
And then you laugh and shout, “This is Killigan’s Island!”
He said THIS IS KILLIGAN’S ISLAND! Thank you, Lance, for the gift of this story.
Clearly, we at P&T had to set out to uncover who was stranded on Killigan’s Isle!
- The game Lance is talking about was either the game against the Lakers on Sunday, December 11th, or the Clippers game on Monday, March 20th (2017). I think the Lakers game is more likely, but a case could be made for either. In December your New York Knickerbockers were 14-10, which seems almost unreal. Joking on the team bus seems pretty likely, since the game was a heady win. The game against the Clippers was another loss in a lost season, by which time the team was 27-43. Playful jokes would be less likely, but frustrated rookies could be questioning Melo’s mettle.
- Players that could reasonably be considered “young” by Lance Thomas (age last season 28):
Chasson Randle (not on roster in December)
- KP is a possibility for the Lakers game. You may recall his performance that night when he scored 26 points (doubling Melo’s 13), grabbed 12 rebounds and made, oh SEVEN BLOCKS. So you could imagine him feeling himself. (He also played well against the Clippers, but it wasn’t as showy)
- Kuz, Plums and Ron had the big DNP for the Lakers game - would this fuel their fire to prove themselves, or make them a non-factor?
- The above (Ron, Plums & Kuz plus Randle) DID play, and well, in the Clippers loss. Did that make them cocky and ready to challenge Melo?
Our very own Joe has been tireless on this beat:
This is from Lance Thomas's goodbye letter to Melo. I DEMAND TO KNOW WHO THIS PLAYER IS pic.twitter.com/ZIc7CU7pS3— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) September 27, 2017
but also, possibly,
stirring shit just doing what is necessary for the story (hi Joe!):
Admit it, @marshallplumlee , you were the one who challenged Melo to a game of 1-on-1. https://t.co/Qe64u8iHz4— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) September 27, 2017
and lo and behold! The PlumLord answerth:
Haha no, guys normally challenged ME but I wouldn't waste my time @mkuzminskas— Marshall Plumlee (@marshallplumlee) September 28, 2017
HaHa! As part 3,000 in the great Plumlee/Kuzminskas social media bromance feud, Plumlee throws Kuzminskas under the (team) bus.
Most dumb/ill advised decisions sound like something kuz would do. Wouldn't put it past him— Marshall Plumlee (@marshallplumlee) September 28, 2017
Notice, however, the obfuscation in Plumlee’s insinuations. Kuz checked his mentions and saw that it was time to throw his own accusations around:
I remember you kept saying all the season "I'm the best 1x1 player in the league, I can beat anyone.."— Mindaugas Kuzminskas (@MKuzminskas) September 28, 2017
Did I mention that Joe is a
shit-stirrer relentless investigative reporter?
This definitely sounds like something you would say, Marshall. Do you deny it?— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) September 28, 2017
and Plumlee... sort of sidesteps:
The language barrier is destroying @mkuzminskas right now, he doesn't know what he's saying— Marshall Plumlee (@marshallplumlee) September 28, 2017
Looks a little fishy to me. Still, inconclusive. What do you think?
Who was stranded on Killigan’s Island?
This poll is closed