Carmelo Anthony's Denver Nuggets/New York Knicks Jerseys Debate Rages On - Newstbt.com
One novelty bet that has yet to be seen for the NBA Finals is on whether Carmelo Anthony’s jersey number is going to be retired by the Denver Nuggets, the New York Knicks, both franchises, or neither.
The two of them, of course, were AAU coaches when Anthony first started playing organized basketball.
A recent publicity photo on Twitter showed Nikola Jokic posing on the left and Carmelo Anthony looking to shoot on the right. Before Jokic took over the “15” jersey for the Denver Nuggets, perhaps Anthony had expected his own “15” jersey to one day hang in the rafters of the Denver team. Now, by reaching the NBA Finals and showcasing his all-court play, it is seen that the spotlight is on Jokic wearing 15. If Anthony is honored as expected, it is more likely to be hosted by the New York Knicks, due to his retirement announcement on May 23 and his long-time connections with the Knicks President Leon Rose and second-in-command William Wesley, who were AAU coaches when Anthony began his organized basketball career.
SNY-TV reported that as Rose and Wesley were Anthony’s CAA agents, they pushed to get the Nuggets to trade him to the Knicks during the 2010-11 season. Such was the impact of his departure from Denver that there was a groundswell of support to honor Anthony in Madison Square Garden’s rafters with the hanging of his jersey. What a testament to where it is that Anthony truly shone brighter.
Where Did Anthony Shine Brighter?
When Anthony was traded to the Knicks, he had to change his jersey number from 15 to 7, as the franchise had already retired the number twice before; 15 was worn by both Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire, a point-guard pioneer. Despite not having a successful time with the Knicks, one NBA personnel director said that if either of the two teams were to one day retire his jersey, it would be the Knicks. Unfortunately, with Nuggets star Nikola Jokic three victories away from winning Denver’s first NBA title, the chances of Anthony and Jokic celebrating their achievements together have been made difficult as Anthony spent 10.5 seasons in Denver (2003-11). He made playoffs every single season, but sadly only made it to the Western Conference finals once. In his final season with the Nuggets, Anthony made the controversial decision to demand a trade to the Knicks.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Anthony had hopes of one day playing for the much-maligned New York Knicks, despite it no longer being a popular course of action. A league executive commented on this bold move, saying, “Carmelo Anthony should be applauded for valorously continuing his pursuit of playing for the Knicks in spite of the negative press and attention that comes with being a part of owner James Dolan’s organization. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, had no interest in the level of scrutiny that comes with playing for one of the most scrutinized franchises in the entire league.” Unfortunately, his time with the Knicks was not as successful as he had hoped.
Melo’s Knicks Bust
In seven seasons with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony never achieved getting them out of the second round in the playoffs. There was not even a playoff berth in his final four seasons, as his time in New York was a mixed experience. The New York Post’s Knicks beat writer witnessed most of his games played at the Garden. His reputation as an adept clutch shooter was diminished, he was not able to retain his “best closer” title from Denver, and although he set the record for most points scored in a single game on the Garden floor with his 62 point performance, it was not enough to get the Knicks to postseason success and he ended up asking for a trade out of New York in 2017. This leaves one to ask the question: Why Aren’t More Knicks Numbers Retired?
Why Aren’t More Knicks Numbers Retired?
The Knicks have a policy that only championship-winning players have their numbers raised to the rafters, excluding Patrick Ewing (33), who is known as the greatest Knick of all-time, and McGuire. Walt Frazier (10), Willis Reed (19), Dave DeBusschere (22), Bill Bradley (24), and Dick Barnett (12) – all part of the 1970 and 1973 championship teams – have been honored in this way. Carmelo Anthony proved to be a great offensive weapon for the Knicks, but the prestigious honor of jersey retirement has usually been reserved for NBA champions, players of great endurance and elite players; former Knicks Publicity Director Jonathan Supranowitz said this. Bernard King (30) and Richie Guerin (9) – both Hall of Fame members – have long fought for an official jersey retirement. Anthony, who won an NCAA title at Syracuse, is expected to enter the Hall of Fame in two years due to his ninth-ranked points.
Reggie Miller, a notorious knick-killer, made an appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show” on FoxSports radio, where he argued that Carmelo Anthony’s number should be retired in New York. Surprisingly, his opinion was met with skepticism from Patrick. In contrast to that, an anonymous NBA executive had a more favourable outlook, asserting that if Anthony had waited until as a free agent, the Knicks would have won a championship, and that he “came here [New York] and carried them”. Despite differing opinions, one thing stands true – the conversation about Anthony will never cease.
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