One day, after being named an NBA All-Star starter for the sixth straight time — and five years to the day of Kobe Bryant scoring 61 points in the basketball Mecca — Carmelo Anthony went out and put on a show worthy enough to avoid being the New York Knicks’ scapegoat for at least one night.
Not only did Anthony best Bryant’s record setting Madison Square Garden performance by one, but he ended two points better than his childhood idol’s (Bernard King) 30-year record. And he was so focused when he did it.
He had that same coldblooded look in his eyes that LeBron James sported in the Miami Heat’s 2012 elimination game against the Boston Celtics. It was that same focused vibe that you would often see from Michael Jordan when he would come to Manhattan and light up the same arena.
Gone was his patented smile, but the shot was still there, and it was flowing with ease as he rocked the Charlotte Bobcats from the post, three-point line and even half court — all while being watched by Knicks legends Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Charles Oakley.
Two days later, he dropped 35 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in front of another packed house, full of stars and the turncoat Garden crowd who were just recently calling for his trade.
It was the type of atmosphere that Lakers fans have grown accustomed to in their own town. But with Bryant on his last legs, the Staples Center faithful are stuck searching for a star to make that ambiance the norm again.
In other words, they’re hoping the scoring champ was just showing New York what California is about to get, because it’s no secret that all signs point to Jim Buss trying to bring Anthony to Los Angeles. His wife is an actress, they own a home there, and he and Bryant became fast friends during their time together at the 2008 Olympics.
“I try not to think about it too much,” Bryant said of the chances of him teaming with the man who calls him his big brother. “If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I will be more than happy to give it to him.” (ESPN)
In the meantime, we’ll have to be satisfied with Anthony trying to be deadly efficient for fans that are ready to boo him the minute he screws up.