As media day and training camp rapidly approaches, all eyes will be on New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony.
He’s become the LeBron James of the NBA. Anthony is the best player in the league not to have a ring and just like James; his every single move will be criticized until he does so.
Anthony has the team he wants and the coach he wants; now he will be expected to deliver and will have to do so on the world’s biggest stage.
But the biggest question surrounding ‘Melo is if he is willing to make the sacrifices that James did in leading the Miami Heat to the NBA championship last season?
If you ask Anthony, that answer is yes.
“I don’t want to try to put all that burden on myself to go out there and try to do everything, so I’m willing to make any sacrifice in my game regardless of what anybody else says,” he told ESPNNewYork.com’s Jared Zwerling on Friday. “If my scoring goes from 27 to 23, I’m cool with that. Right now, I’m willing to make any sacrifice that I have to.”
Of course it’s easy for ‘Melo to say that now, but doing it is another story altogether.
It will take a lot of sacrifice on Anthony’s part to lead this Knicks team to glory.
Finding a way to coo-exist with Amar’e Stoudemire will be crucial as the Knicks are still an under .500 team when both are in the lineup together.
Then there’s the playoffs, when ‘Melo has led his team out of the first round only once in nine tries.
What will make this season different for Anthony?
It could be the Knicks collection of aging veterans. After signing Rasheed Wallace, these Knicks now possess four of the oldest players in the NBA. Along with that age comes additional leadership in guys like Wallace, Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby.
Their presence alone could teach Anthony a lot about being a leader and the work required to become a winner.
Anthony has heard all about his failures in the past and he knows the job at hand. He’s coming off a fantastic run in the London Olympics and should be reporting to camp in fantastic shape.
Now it’s up to Anthony to show he can change and become a leader. The parallels between himself and James re very similar to when James entered the 2011-12 season without a ring. Will ‘Melo be able to produce similar results?
Only time will tell, but he’s certainly saying all the right things.
“At the end of the day, as long as we win games, everybody will be happy,” he said. “I don’t really think about it. My mindset is to make this one of the best years for myself and for the Knicks.”
Right now Anthony seems all about team and sacrifice, which is a good thing for the Knicks.
We will see if he can keep that mentality for an 82-game season, but as long as Anthony is entering camp that way, he should get off to a very good start in become a true leader this season.
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