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An Open Letter to Carmelo Anthony

Dear Carmelo,

I recently watched game 4 of the first round series between your New York Knicks and the Miami Heat.  The  Knicks won in a tightly contested match and you played a superb game.  Not only because you scored 41 points with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but you were also the catalyst whenever the Knicks were down, taunting LeBron on defense and making all of the hustle plays.  There is something to be said about a star who ends up on the floor chasing after loose balls at least three times in a game.  We were amazed by your shot selection and your cuts to the basket.  You took 14 free throws, making 10.  On top of all this, you played with a smile on your face.  Like the Knicks and the rest of the New York fans, you knew you had nothing to lose at this point.  You forgot that you were down 3-0 and decided to play hard and have fun. 

I want to stay on this last point for a little bit.  Fun is the reason we watch this sport and played it when we were young.  The up tempo style coupled with having four brothers battle with you on the court.  That is what we love about this game and is what we want to see when we turn on the TV or pay for tickets and go to MSG.  When my buddy Beau and I were discussing this season, we mentioned the word "fun" at least three times in a two minute conversation.  You have to understand.  When you were hurt and the Knicks amassed a seven game winning streak with Lin at the helm, it was fun.  You could see it on the faces of the players and everyone that attended the games.  There was a sense that it was going to be a good time each and every time.  As your timetable to return got shorter and shorter, there were a lot of people saying that the Knicks did not need you and that it was better if you stayed away.  Of course this was not true.  We all forgot that the seven game streak included teams that were well under .500.  Deep down we all know that you are arguably the number one offensive option in all of the NBA and the Knicks are lucky to have you.  We were just scared that you were going to ruin the fun.

Looking back at this past season and a half, we all realized that there was many flaws to this team.  You came midway through last season and the lockout shortened season of this season did not allow the team to develop any cohesion.  A lot of pressure was thrust upon you because the team traded away a large part of their team for you and New York was hungry for a championship.  However, partnerships and teamwork can not be manufactured, they have to developed through hard work and mutual compromise.  It was hard for you and Amar'e to play together.  It was even harder for D'Antoni to understand how all the pieces fit in such a short time.  The one glimpse of fun we had during the winning streak was quickly diminshed when the harder schedule exposed all the flaws of the currently constructed team.  However, after D'Antoni left, fun seemed to be on the menu again. 

As the Knicks battled for the last playoff spot, you lead them to an 18-6 record, the best in the league in that span.  You earned player of the month honors for the month of April.  In my eyes, you have a solid chance of becoming the Most Valuable Player next year.  I do not think you have ever entered the MVP conversation in my memory, but I believe that you can.  This is not because of your offensive firepower, but you have emerged as a leader, and this is what we are looking forward to.  We are waiting to see you make the transcendence into the player that we all believe you can be.  

The Knicks have a slim chance of winning this series.  In fact, you will most likely lose in game 5.  I do not believe that LeBron and Wade will allow this series to stretch out any further.  Nor do I think that the referees will call an even game.  This will be a frustrating game for New York players and fans alike.  However, you have shown that you can lead this team.  Despite the injuries to Lin, Shumpert, and Baron Davis, and with Amar'e and Jeffries playing hurt, the team played with a lot of heart on Sunday and gutted out a game that could have easily been lost.  It gave us an indication of what we could hope for next year.  Now that was fun.


A Knicks Fan

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