The essay just dropped on Melo’s site making it official. From a pure writing perspective, it’s not as good as LeBron’s–and just because of the timing, it feels like he’s cranking out a tepid knockoff, a sub-par copy of the King’s speech–but then again, Melo didn’t have the clout to enlist the great Lee Jenkins as his ghostwriter. I really wish he’d reached out to some of the fine scribes at Knickerblogger. Next time. Here’s his words:
A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.
During this journey I met with some quality organizations who have amazing talent and leadership. I thank them for their consideration, belief in my talent, and opportunity to imagine the possibilities.
I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.
Coach Fish appears to be pleased:
DFisher: "I have had the opportunity to be around some of the greatest players in our game, and now I have the honor of coaching Carmelo…"
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) July 13, 2014
The “My City, My Heart” header is nice, but look, press release notwithstanding, this is as much wholly about his heart as it is his wallet and liking Phil/Fisher and shlepping his family to the Midwest or across the country. What I’m saying is, it’s complicated.
One of the great things about sports, what makes it so universally appealing, is that aside from the score, there are very, very few concrete, unassailable facts. You can take what happens on the field or court or ring and make it into whatever story interests you the most. If you want to scream that Melo is selfish and greedy, hey, if that’s what pings your entertainment cherries, cool beans. If you want to build cathedrals to his greatness, write epic poems to his loyalty/declare him the heir to Ewing’s throne (with all that encompasses), swell.
There really is no wrong way to be a fan. If it feels good, do it, Bruh. I mention this because so much ink/bytes have been spilled discussing Melo-as-a-concept/symbol of what’s wrong (or right) with the ‘Bockers franchise and/or Dolan, that I it can bury Melo the actual player. And yes, there’s a complex conversation about his value, but that’s an interesting conversation (again, from my personal preference with regards to fandom) to have.
For the moment, that’s over (thankfully). Contract deets will be forthcoming shortly (we assume).
UPDATE 1:18pm: TEAM OF EXCELLENCE™
After three months of questions around Carmelo Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks, we are now happy to know that we have the cornerstone of what we envision as a ‘team of excellence.’Steve Mills and I have assured Carmelo through our conversations, that we have the vision and the determination to build this team and he has clearly bought into our message.
UPDATE 7:20pm: No actual numbers yet, but Phil said Melo took a pay cut heading into 2015. You can read it here.