The biggest stage in sports, and also its greatest pressure cooker, plays host to two superstars on one of its most-watched teams.
The two stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the field of play, yet could not be viewed more differently.
The incumbent is beloved, and to him all of the team's achievements are attributed.
The newcomer is reviled, left to take ownership of the team's shortcomings.
Stoudemire arrived as a savior: the symbol of the New York Knicks' long-awaited return to relevance.
Anthony was viewed as the second star that New York needed to truly compete for a championship.
But with Anthony last year, the Knicks posted a 14-14 record and failed to win a single playoff game.
This year, fans and broadcasters began grumbling that the offense stalled in Anthony's hands, and the anti-Anthony sentiment reached a crescendo when home fans began booing him.
With an important win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, this year's Knicks once again find themselves sitting on a .500 record, but they also find Stoudemire in danger of sitting out the next four weeks with a bulging disc in his back.
Though he has been slowed by multiple injuries to his wrist and most recently his groin, Anthony must shake off any minor pains and play through "questionable" status, starting with Wednesday night's game against the Orlando Magic.
He has shot 39.9 percent from the field and posted 20.2 points per game, both career lows.
For the Knicks to hold onto their playoff spot—or improve it—Anthony will have to be the Anthony the Knicks traded for: 45.5 percent shooting for an average of 24.5 points.
He needs to be the player Knicks fans saw in their latest tilt with the Boston Celtics on March 4, where Anthony would have been the hero of a Knicks victory, if Paul Pierce had not found a way to upstage him.
If he plays up to his abilities, he will have more chances to win games for the Knicks over the final 16 games of the regular season.
And yes: He needs to win.
Convert those chances and become a hero. Come up short, and remain a goat—regardless of what the other team does.
It is not fair. It is New York.
Anthony forced his way into New York. Now he must force his way into the hearts of New York Knicks fans by carrying the team into the playoffs.