Greatest Moments from Carmelo Anthony's Time with NY Knicks
The 11-year veteran is set to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent this summer—and it’d be hard to blame him for dashing from the Big Apple, especially after this season.
New York can offer Melo more money than anyone else, but team president Phil Jackson has said that he hopes Anthony will stay "true to his word" and take less than a max deal, per Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal.
But if he’s going to take less, why wouldn’t he just bolt for a potential contender like the Chicago Bulls?
If Anthony leaves, the Knicks are in for some dark times—think Philadelphia 76ers with an older, more expensive roster and no draft picks—for at least a year or two, unless they can land a big-time free agent in the summer of 2015 or 2016.
There's a chance that after this season, Melo walks into the sunset and never looks back. There's also a chance that he plays out the rest of his career in New York.
Regardless, let's reflect on Anthony’s best moments during his three-and-a-half years with the Knicks.
Bonus Moment: First Introduction at Madison Square Garden
This was it. The Knicks were going to become a real contender for the first time since the days of Patrick Ewing.
Well, that didn’t happen. Optimists will say “not yet,” but the likelihood of Melo bolting from the ‘Bockers is very high.
We know what’s happened during Anthony’s tenure as a Knick—he’s been sensational, but the team has broken the hearts of fans over and over again.
Nonetheless, watching Anthony’s first introduction at Madison Square Garden—after the Knicks moved heaven and earth to pry him from the Denver Nuggets—will still give you goose bumps.
(Note: Anthony's name is called at 2:40, but the entire clip is worth watching.)
Fighting Kevin Garnett
There’s nothing wrong with a little bad blood or trash talk, but certain lines can't be crossed.
On January 7, 2013, Kevin Garnett crossed one of them.
Garnett, who was named as the NBA's biggest trash-talker according to a 2010 Sports Illustrated player poll, said something that Anthony took great exception to during a meeting in early January of 2013.
“It's something you just don't say to men, another man,” Anthony told Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News in regard to what Garnett had actually said.
Various outlets reported that Garnett had some vulgar comments about Anthony’s wife, La La Vazquez, which were especially offensive being that the couple was supposedly separated at the time.
No punches were thrown, but Anthony did what most New Yorkers would do when someone takes shots at a family member or loved one.
And it was awesome.
Record-Breaking All-Star Performance
Okay, back to basketball.
Aside from perhaps Kevin Durant, Anthony is the top individual scorer in the NBA right now. And while he’s not LeBron James—a guy who can carry a ragtag team to the NBA Finals—Melo is elite at what he does.
When surrounded by players of his caliber (you know, guys better than J.R. Smith), Anthony breaks records.
Against Nigeria in the 2012 London Olympics, Anthony shattered the U.S. single-game scoring record, notching 37 points and hitting 12 three-pointers midway through the third quarter.
That moment would be on this list if it weren’t for the fact that Anthony was representing his country, not the Knicks, when it happened.
In the 2014 All-Star Game, Melo again caught fire from beyond the arc. He knocked down a record eight three-pointers and totaled 30 points on the night.
Imagine how good the Knicks would've been if they ever had anyone else to put alongside Melo.
Posterizing Dunk Against Indiana in the Conference Semifinals
And I mean all over him.
The Garden was rocking, the team was energized, and Ewing even gave a little fist bump—which is how you know that it was a good dunk.
A showdown with Miami, a team that New York had beaten in three out of their four regular-season meetings that season, seemed attainable.
The Pacers beat the Knicks in six games, but Anthony’s jam was memorable.
Torching the Heat for 50 Points...on All Jumpers
On April 2, 2013, Anthony dropped 50 points on the Heat—without taking a single shot in the paint.
As odd as that sounds, Melo, a player who typically uses his perimeter game to open up driving lanes, didn’t attempt a layup, putback or anything near the rim.
(Check out his ridiculous shot chart here.)
Anthony netted 18 of 26 field-goal attempts while hitting seven shots from beyond the arc that night. At the time, the 50-point total tied for his career-best scoring night.
Despite the fact that James and Dwyane Wade didn’t play in the game, it was a galvanizing 102-90 win for the Knicks.
Beating the Heat is always a big deal, but dropping a hard-earned 50 made that night even sweeter for Anthony and the 'Bockers.
Winning the Scoring Title, Atlantic Division and a Playoff Series
The best overall season of Anthony’s career came in 2012-13, his second full campaign in New York.
Averaging 28.7 points a night, Melo notched his first career scoring title and led the Knicks to the top of the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1994.
That was the series in which the Knicks decided it’d be a good idea to wear black before Game 5—“funeral colors,” as Kenyon Martin made a point of telling his teammates, per Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News—prior to getting humbled by the veteran Celtics.
Even after that nonsensical move, New York moved on to face Indiana in the conference semifinals. The Pacers knocked off the Knicks in six games, despite Anthony’s valiant effort of nearly 29 points a night.
While the Knicks had higher hopes for the season as a whole, 2012-13 was Anthony’s most decorated year as a pro.
Dropping 62 in a Game, Most in Knicks History
After Anthony put forth one of the greatest offensive performances in recent memory, Bernard King, Knicks legend and former franchise record holder for the most points in a single game, told Al Iannazzone of Newsday that he was happy for Melo:
I know how he felt during that game in performing that way. I've been there before. I'm delighted that the record was broken by him. ...
I sent Carmelo a text indicating how happy I was for him and delighted that he was able to break the record, and that he's so deserving and I truly enjoy watching. I'm very, very delighted for him.
King's previous mark of 60 points in a game stood as the franchise record for 30 years before Anthony annihilated the Charlotte Bobcats on January 24 this past season.
Melo erupted for 62 points on 23-of-35 shooting and could've gone for more had he not come out after breaking the record at about the seven-minute, 25-second mark in the fourth quarter.
This season was as painful for Anthony as anyone, as the star forward missed the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career.
But that night in January is etched in stone.
Killing the Bulls on Easter with Two Insane Three-Pointers
If that video doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.
With about 13 seconds left in regulation and his team down three against the Chicago Bulls on Easter two years ago, Anthony launched a tightly contested bomb from beyond the arc.
And as if that weren’t enough, with the Knicks down 99-97 as the clock ticked away in overtime, Anthony got to the same spot, rose up with the same pristine form and buried the triple to put New York up a point with 8.2 left.
Knicks fans at the Garden exploded as their hero strutted down the court yelling “This is my house!” to the roaring crowd.
The ‘Bockers, carried by Melo's 43-point output, held on to win the game, which proved to be a crucial one in New York’s pursuit of the final playoff spot in the East.
Whether Anthony is a Knick for life, leaves this summer or departs at some point down the road, moments like that will never be forgotten in the hearts of Knicks fans.