New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony has been dealing with a knee injury throughout the young season. While he’s been in and out the lineup during the year, he recently returned to action in January after a two-week hiatus only to re-aggravate the injury last week. Reports from earlier in the week suggest that Anthony is strongly considering shutting it down after the all-star break this weekend, which coincidentally he’s hosting as the New York City ambassador. Is it a bad idea for Anthony to suit up for All-Star Weekend only to sit out the rest of the season? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: The NBA All-Star game is the ultimate solo showcase. And, while Anthony is still one of the Association’s biggest stars, he’s at an age where it’s supposed to be about “team” for him. Hosting All-Star Weekend is a fantastic honor; but when you’re the centerpiece behind what will be a major rebuild, then blowing off the All-Star Game because of a gimpy knee sounds like a fantastic idea. Anthony told reporters on Friday that his injury can’t get any worse but knee injuries often force players to shift more of the workload to the opposite leg. A further aggravation of his injured knee or possible damage to the other leg would be a disastrous result. Such is a possibility that shouldn’t even have a chance to come to fruition, barring selfish motive.
Green: Yes, the NBA-All Star Game is the ultimate solo showcase and that’s exactly why Anthony needs to participate. Rooting for Anthony on Sunday will be the loudest cheers that any New York area basketball fan will make this season. Both the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets stink and they won’t be getting better anytime soon. For any fan in the New York/New Jersey area, this weekend is the highlight of the year. This potentially could be the last time we spotlight New York City when it comes to basketball for the next several seasons. There is no immediate relief in sight for fans of both suffering teams and for a sport that literally pumps to the streets of the city, it’s practically vital that Anthony suits up. He’s the biggest star that the area has had in years and he deserves to be recognized. The fact that he is injured should be worthy of even more praise.
Riley: The whole point of Anthony re-signing his mega contract this past summer and of the franchise luring the iconic Phil Jackson was to push the turnaround sooner rather than later. Saying that Anthony’s performance this weekend would give locals something to cheer for since it is likely they won’t have that for the next few years is the ultimate slap in the face. Even Brooklyn had huge plans that were made prior to their franchise change from the New Jersey Nets two years ago, all backed by a billionaire owner. The Knicks are expected to compete in free agency over the next two seasons while the Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov are never out of a big-time splash move. The Knicks and Nets might not be in the best shape currently, but Anthony doesn’t need that as a crutch to justify him suiting up this weekend.
Green: Nothing is promised in any sport, and from the plain observer, neither the Nets nor the Knicks will be getting better anytime soon. But the justification for Anthony’s playing isn’t just one thing, it’s a myriad of reasons. His favorite All-Star memory of all time happens to be the last time an All-Star game was hosted in his hometown when an experienced Michael Jordan squared off against a young up-and-comer by the name of Kobe Bryant. All-Star Weekend in New York City is always going to be an epic affair, and for a player of Anthony’s status to be unavailable to play would internally kill any competitor. The Knicks’ season is over, and for many fans, this weekend might be the last weekend of the year they’ll attend a Knicks-related event. I won’t blame Anthony for suiting up then shutting it down after the weekend. It’s the only thing left to play for this season in Anthony’s eyes and he’ll suit up for what counts.