What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Everyone knows that, certainly the NBA players who frequent Sin City — and the hopefuls whose Summer League exploits so often fail to translate to the league’s 29 official cities.
A more pressing question for Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks is this one: Will what happens in London stay in London?
The hunch here is, yep, probably will.
How well Anthony manages to turn the success and image-polishing he’s experiencing in the 2012 London Olympics into a reboot of his NBA career and reputation was analyzed in full Wednesday by Ken Berger, lead NBA scribe for CBSSports.com. Berger lays out all the evidence, makes some fair (some might say too kind) assessments of Anthony’s first nine NBA seasons and presents it all as a challenge to the Knicks’ ball-stopping scoring star to find another gear and fit himself more into a team concept from this 2012-13 season forward.
By emphasizing what’s next for ‘Melo, Berger is able to have his cake and eat it too. That’s appropriate — this is, after all, the media guy who sent a message during the lockout from a Manhattan bakery up to the luxury hotel suite where owners and players were haggling over their millions and billions. Berger points out most of the flaws in Anthony’s play and career to this point, yet sidesteps the juvenile, ad hominen response that he might be what too easily is labeled a “hater” of this player:
Before you fly off and call me a Melo hater and whatnot, understand this is a hopelessly optimistic perspective that I harbor about Anthony. A hater would say we already do know who and what Melo is — a selfish, one-dimensional scoring machine who doesn’t have the leadership ability, work ethic or commitment to an all-around game to be recognized among the truly elite players in his sport. So by saying we don’t know this about Anthony yet, I am presenting a hopeful scenario in which he still has time to figure it out.
It is beyond dispute, however, that he is running out of time.
Let’s take it a step further and suggest that it is perfectly acceptable to “hate” Anthony’s game without “hating” the man. Frankly, though, it’s such an ugly, lazy, hyperbolic word that we’re done with it now; we’ll stay in the realm of criticizing, disliking and not being a fan of, because that’s really all this is.
To this point — nine seasons in — Anthony has shown himself to be self-absorbed as a basketball player with delusions of grandeur about his place in the league’s galaxy of stars; no, he is not on the same level as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, with whom he was drafted in 2003, and surely not Kobe Bryant, to whom Melo relates as a conscienceless scorer. (more…)