Carmelo Anthony Dishes on 'Challenge' and 'Mentality' Needed to Play for Knicks

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

FILE - In this March 27, 2017, file photo, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after hitting a 3-point shot against the Detroit Pistons during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in New York. The Knicks agreed to trade Anthony to the Thunder on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, saving themselves a potentially awkward reunion next week with the player they'd been trying to deal since last season.  New York will get Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick, a person with knowledge of the deal said. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

The New York Knicks have struggled to bring in superstars in recent years, but Carmelo Anthony embraced the pressure of playing under the spotlight.

"I wanted it. It was something I wanted. I wanted to take that challenge on," Anthony said of playing in New York, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "Whether I failed at it or not I wanted to be able to say that I did it. I took it upon myself to say, 'Get me there.' I wanted that challenge. Not everybody has that same mentality."

Anthony was traded to the Knicks in 2011 and stayed through the 2016-17 season.

The forward earned an All-Star selection in each of his six full seasons with the Knicks, winning a scoring title in 2012-13. He also lifted the team to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2013 after the squad won its only playoff series since 2000.

However, he wasn't able to find sustained team success with the organization and gained a lot of criticism before being traded away in 2017.

"I mean, not everybody can deal with that. Not even just talking about a star, I mean regular player, role guys, just players—a lot of people can't deal with that," Anthony said. "There's not too many people who can deal with what comes with that. I don't want to say it's pressure, just everything that comes along with wearing the Knicks across your chest."

Seemingly every offseason the Knicks are hoping to land the biggest free agents on the market but always tend to get passed over for other organizations. This past summer, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant instead chose local rival Brooklyn Nets in free agency.

"It's like the cool thing right now is not the Knicks," Durant said in October, via Ian Begley of SNY.

Anthony said it wasn't surprising these players passed on the Knicks, but added the increased pressure might continue to be a factor. 

"Players want to be able to go to a situation where they can enjoy it, have fun and not have to deal with that," he said.

The 35-year-old spent the past two years with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets before signing with the Portland Trail Blazers last month. He is currently averaging 15.9 points per game in 10 appearances with his new team.