Carmelo Anthony

Hoodie Melo: The Legend of Carmelo Anthony

And the newest candidate for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is…Hoodie Melo! The summer of 2017 could very well be the highest and lowest points of Carmelo Anthony’s career. On one hand, he refuses to waive his no-trade clause except for one team with no assets. On the other hand, the legend of Hoodie Melo was born.

If Hoodie Melo were to be in NBA 2K, he’d have a 99 rating. He’s perfect from the floor and has shown a variety of different scoring moves. Low post, one-legged fade away, 3-ball, one dribble pull up. You name it!

In all seriousness, it’s an understatement to say Carmelo has had a tumultuous year. His family feud with the Knicks and Phil Jackson lasted the better part of the year and even into the summer. Not only has it brought drama around Melo but it significantly impacted his trade value. Big picture, the disrespect Melo has received through hearsay is an attempt to damage his legacy. Say what you want about him, but he’s one of the most brilliant scoring machines we have ever seen.

From the day he was drafted, his legacy would continuously be paralleled. With his height, size and stature, it was apparent that he would forever be compared to LeBron James. If LeBron could lead a B-list roster to the ’07 NBA Finals, Melo sure could, right? WRONG! Although Melo utilized his scoring ability to claim the NCAA Championship, his approach in the league would have to be slightly different.

LeBron had Wade/Irving, Kobe had Shaq/Gasol, who did Melo have? Nene? The teams surrounding elite scorers were always tailored to their skill set. Carmelo has always had the short end of the stick. Let’s take a look at some of Melo’s recent starting point guards: Langston Galloway, Raymond Felton, Jose Calderon, Ron Baker. How is it not apparent that in Melo’s best seasons (08-09, 12-13) he was accompanied by veteran pass-first point guards?

His 27.5PPG/4.8RPG/3.8APG/1.3SPG average in the ’09 Western Conference Finals was more than legit. His 28.5PPG/7.8RPG/1.3APG average in the 13 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals was also impressive. Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups were both able to steer the ship and maximize Melo’s skill set. Why is a fan/bystander able to see that, but NBA executives haven’t?

It’s unfortunate that Melo’s extravagant scoring gets compared to LeBron’s playmaking ability. The elite scorers in NBA history have had that sidekick, while we can’t say the same for Melo. But it doesn’t matter. The critics out there expect him to galvanize the troops a la LeBron James. Being put up against a Top 5 all-time player is a tall task. One that many people expected him to meet and/or potentially surpass.

If this summer has done anything for Melo, it’s reminded people of his elite offensive skill set. Melo’s name has been slandered in the most recent years for things that haven’t been his fault. His tenure with Amare Stoudemire was injury-filled, and thereafter, the team was practically rebuilding within. New York is a city that thrives on star power and Melo was able to fill that void for fans for years. His time may well be over as a Knick, but people must remember his talent.

Preposterous trades have surfaced in which the Knicks get back one-dimensional players along with a late draft pick. Is that all Melo is worth?

We often mistake potential and trajectory for talent. The only contrarian argument I see is that there are other talented players in the league who are younger. However, this is a win-now league.

Remember the old saying, what have you done for me lately? Don’t tell me it’s a work in progress that’ll be ready in 3-4 years. Melo can give a title contender an exponential boost in offense and can give them a legit chance to win it all. When we compare TALENT to TALENT, how many people are we really saying is better than Melo? I’ll wait…

Let’s definitely pump the brakes saying Melo’s career is over. Viciously pump the brakes on Melo not being elite. Emphatically pump the brakes on Melo being too old to play. And we ABSOLUTELY must pump the brakes on that ridiculous ranking by the “worldwide leader”.

The ranking gets more egregious by the year and makes one wonder if they actually watch the sport. If your eye test tells you there are 63 players in the league better than Melo (including a rookie), we can no longer converse on the topic of basketball.

Hopefully, all of the hard work this summer pays off for Melo on his new team. No matter the odds or the talk, his skills are evident. A top 25 all-time leading scorer and automatic first-ballot Hall of Fame caliber player can have my vote.

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