There have been more than a few compliments that have been thrown to New York Knicks’ superstar Carmelo Anthony this season, but none have to do with scoring the basketball or putting up MVP-type numbers.
Anthony instead has garnered more praise for the way he has become a team player and more mature player both on and off the court.
Now judging by the past couple of seasons, the words team player and Anthony would never go together, but ‘Melo has changed as a player. He kept preaching change it during the offseason, but he has backed it up as well. Who knows what sparked the change in Anthony? The Olympics? Media Scrutiny? Watching LeBron James win a ring?
I can’t say for sure and truthfully I don’t care why. I just know I am seeing a player locked in and doing the right thing from a team basketball perspective and I like it.
Other people have taken notice as well, including Knicks’ legend Patrick Ewing who told the Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence “Well, we all mature,” when asked about the difference between Anthony a season ago and now. “We all grow up.”
Anthony has grown up a lot. He came to New York two years ago and wasn’t exactly embracing a team-first game, not nearly as much as he does now. Ewing can see the difference, too and he attributes it all to the experience Anthony had in London at the Olympics.
“He’s leading now and I feel like the Olympics helped him as a leader,’’ Ewing told Lawrence. “It helped me when I played in the Olympics. I felt like I came back a much better leader. We all work hard, all players do. But when you’re around all those players, in that setting, and you see what kind of leaders they are, it helps you become more mature and a better leader.’’
Ewing would know all about being a leader and he is spot o about the change in Anthony.
He got to see it firsthand last night at the Garden and he got to listen to the Garden praise Anthony with M-V-P chants late in the game.
And while Anthony certainly adores that from the MSG faithful, it is the praise from a legend like Ewing that means even more.
If ‘Melo keeps it up and can lead this team to places they haven’t been to in close to 40 years, he will be hearing the praises from everyone else as well.
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