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Carmelo Anthony – A Legacy On The Line

by Ryan Flannery | Posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2014
(USATSI)

(USATSI)

Carmelo Anthony has accomplished a lot in his playing career. Starting off in high school, playing for national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, where he led one of the nation’s best to three major high school tournament wins, a number 3 rank in most of the national high school polls, and a win against familiar foe LeBron James when he played for St. Vincent St. Mary’s.  Anthony then turned down offers from the NBA to play for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University where in his first season he led the Orange to a National Championship and garnished national player of the year. Following, Anthony’s NBA career has been unprecedented, with countless playoff appearances, record setting offensive performances, 7-times elected to the NBA All-Star team, 2 gold medals to his name, and a scoring title in 2013.  Carmelo has seen it all and done it all, and it’s hard to imagine he is entering his 12th season as a player.  It doesn’t seem that long ago we saw the young faces of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Anthony himself grace the cover of Sports Illustrated documenting the 2003 draft class, one that will go down as one of the best in the associations rich history.

But with all of that success, there is one experience Carmelo Anthony hasn’t had the chance to endure. In all of Anthony’s 12 years in the NBA, he has never been a free agent on the market only being traded once from his longtime team in Denver to the big apple in New York City.  Anthony had the option to stay in Gotham one more year, but the uncertainty of the Knicks future has Melo questioning where to take his services presumably for the rest of his distinguished career.  Like LeBron James 4 years ago, Anthony has been on a country wide tour, being wined and dined by NBA executives from Chicago, Houston, Dallas, the Lakers, and eventually Phil Jackson and the Knicks.  Anthony has had countless meetings with players like Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose from Chicago, Dwight Howard from Houston, and even owners like Mark Cuban from Dallas. Virtual billboards with Melo donning a Chicago Bulls jersey outside the United Center have been spotted as well as a painting where Anthony was wearing now, Jeremy Lin’s number 7, for the Houston Rockets holding a championship trophy, a trophy that he so desperately covets.  Carmelo is on a ride few players get to experience right now, but the difficult decision is looming on the mind of the superstar forward.

Out of the top 5 draft picks of that 2003 draft class, Anthony is the only one to not win an NBA championship (even Darko Millicic has one).  Anthony impressively made the playoffs every season as a Denver Nugget, but only advanced past the first round once back in 2007 when his squad met up with the eventual Western Conference champion in the Los Angeles Lakers.  Melo eventually felt his time in Denver was up, and chose the bigger and brighter spotlight in New York.  He made it back to the postseason in his first 3 years with the Knicks, but just like in the Mile High City, only making it out of the first round once.

Carmelo is now sitting at a point in his career where championships is the only goal that matters.  He has the money, the spotlight, and a career that many consider hall of fame worthy and when he decides to hang up the Jordan’s, he will surely be voted in soon after. But Anthony is playing for something more important than all that at the moment, his legacy.  When all is said and done, if Anthony does not win a title when his career comes to a close, he will be named with the many all-time greats that never experienced holding that trophy up: Barkely, Malone, King, Wilkins, Baylor, and Ewing are just to name a few.

Anthony is spending the weekend in Los Angeles to make one of the toughest decisions of his life, the factor of what team can bring him the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy is one that should stand above the rest.  Teams like the Lakers and Knicks have the max money to offer the superstar, but as Anthony has told the media during his free agent tour, wining is the only option for him.  Anthony grew up moving from city to city, home to home, and has publicly stated that his family life is playing a part in his decision.  He’s built a strong foundation for not only himself financially, but also for his young son and wife who also works in the entertainment business.  Anthony cringes at the thought of having to make his son adapt to a new life in a new city, just like he did when he was a young boy.  But all in all, Anthony will have to decide what team will give him the best chance to win at this point in his career.  

The clock is ticking for one of the league’s best.  Will we see a decision this upcoming week that will land Carmelo am NBA Championship? Or will he go down as one of the best players in the NBA to never win a ring.  Time will only tell.

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