Carmelo Anthony Comments on Decision to Apologize for Exchange with Heckler

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2016

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony smiles during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Raptors won 122-95. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony stated Thursday that the New York Knicks asked him to release a statement after responding to a heckler during a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday passed along Anthony's remarks about the situation, and the forward said Knicks owner James Dolan made the final decision to release the statement. Ian Begley of ESPN previously highlighted the controversial comments from Tuesday's game.

"Look, the owner's right there," Anthony said. "Ask for your money back."  

Anthony elaborated on the situation after the contest, per Begley:

He kept calling my name, calling my name, saying, 'You guys suck, you guys suck,'. "At that point, I was trying to gather myself, and I turned around. All I did was point at Dolan and told him, 'Look, the owner's right there. Ask for your money back.' He's calling me and telling me he's never coming to another game and we suck. Just don't want to hear that. I pointed to the owner and told him, 'You deal with that with him. Maybe you can get your money back.'

The Associated Press provided the original apology from Anthony on Wednesday: "We are all frustrated by the team's recent results—everyone, including me, my teammates, coaches and the fans. Last night, a fan and I let those frustrations get the best of us. I should not have responded the way I did."

Now it sounds like he wasn't planning to address the situation until urged to do so by the Knicks. Darren Rovell of ESPN provided some background information to explain why the team likely sought a public response from its leading scorer:

Frustrations are certainly beginning to mount in New York as the team heads toward its third straight season without making the playoffs. Furthermore, the Knicks have won just a single postseason series since the 2000-01 campaign.

For a fanbase that witnessed two trips to the NBA Finals in the 1990s, the lack of consistent success since the turn of the century is increasingly difficult to manage.

Anthony was viewed as the potential remedy to those woes when the Knicks traded for him during the 2010-11 campaign. While he's enjoyed some individual success, including the scoring title in 2012-13, the team hasn't achieved much, which makes him an easy target.

You'd think he'd be used to the fan backlash by now. That said, with the Knicks having lost eight of their past 10 games to make their record 25-37, it's probably becoming a lot harder for Anthony to control his emotions with disappointment spreading throughout the team and the fanbase.