The NBA draft class of 2003 produced at least five notable players, four of which have won championships. Miami Heat's LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh; plus Oklahoma Thunder Kendrick Perkins as a Boston Celtic.
Carmelo Anthony is still searching for his NBA dream of bringing a championship to New York.
It must have been a tough pill to swallow as Anthony saw ‘Linsanity’ temporarily wrest away his role as savior of the New York Knicks. He had visions of winning a collegiate and NBA championship in the city of his birth, New York.
It hurt even more when his good friend and draft mate LeBron won the gold ball before him.
He had an opportunity in 2007 to partner up with Miami's triumvirate of Bosh,James and Wade; he opted not to. The aforementioned threesome signed only a three-year extension with their previous team; Wade was the only one that stayed with the team that has drafted him since that decision. Anthony chose a five-year extension with Denver instead.
Boston was able to swing into the national consciousness with their big three, and made it look easy on the way to the 2008 championship. Since then, other teams have looked for their own version of the big three—Miami succeeded with their version by bringing home the 2012 trophy.
Now he feels like it is his turn.
New York management has surrounded him with Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler to complete their own three. Like LeBron, Anthony has to have the ball in his hands in order to be effective. Unlike James, he displays his understanding of the game with more of an offensive arsenal.
As gifted as Anthony is, his teams have never developed any cohesiveness or chemistry, because the roles are not clearly defined. Melo is the only one that knows when and how often he will get the ball.
2012 saw the best and worst of Anthony. His team was the definition of dysfunction with his own non-support of Jeremy Lin's free agency, and bringing home the gold medal in the Olympics.
Carmelo's inability to make extended runs in the playoffs has left him as an afterthought when mentioned with the champions of his draft class. His once-expandable burgeoning career has seemingly flat lined, and the media scrutiny has intensified.
Rumors of him not being a leader have dogged him his whole professional career.
2013 will be even more intense because he is being looked at as the next one to get his; or the rumors will be non-stop.
His skills are comparable to reigning MVP LeBron James, and early in their careers; he had the upper hand in head-to-head matchups with James. He tried to duplicate the feat in the 2012 playoffs but ran out of gas.
His game has always been about elevating his ability to score to get the win; his second Olympic win should help him bring a different approach to getting easier shots.
Jeremy Lin is gone, and Anthony is on center stage like he has always been when it was time to win a championship. He has a rim protector in Tyson Chandler, a versatile big man in Amar'e and a seasoned vet at point in Jason Kidd.
It seems like Carmelo is destined to take the road less traveled in order to raise a banner for the Knicks, but be assured I don’t think he would have it any other way.