CBS Sports – “Last year was very tough for him because he was criticized a lot for shooting and playing the way he likes to play,” Bryant said. “And then the whole Linsanity thing happened and everybody said, ‘Well, they’re better off without Melo,’ and all this nonsense. You guys are guilty of it. You guys really put the hammer on him. And as a result, he kind of got a little gun shy and a little self-conscious about things. And I just asked him, ‘What the hell are you doing? To hell with them; you have to do what you do best.’ And I think the organization put pieces around him that allowed him to do that. And now, you guys all celebrate him for doing what he’s always done. It’s funny. God bless you guys.” ~ Kobe Bryant
I’m happy Kobe said this because it gives me the perfect opportunity to address all these people accusing me and Knicks fans of being flip floppers on Carmelo. Anybody who’s been reading the Stool for a while has seen me kill Carmelo the past couple years. He deserved every bit of criticism he got. His Knicks teams were barely .500 since his arrival from Denver. The offensive team around him was completely stagnant. The defense was non existent. He couldn’t co-exist with other players. Butted heads with head coaches. Everything I said about Carmelo was true.
Now, Carmelo is playing like a completely different player. He’s like a completely different guy. Saying “we are celebrating him for doing what he’s always done” is bullshit. Its not “what he’s always done.” Diving on the floor and in the crowd for lo0se balls. Making the extra pass on offense. His team is top 10 in points allowed. He’s having one of his best and most efficient shooting years. Earlier in the year I blogged about JR Smith admitted he partied too much last year and saying he made changes this season and I compared that realization to whats going on with Carmelo: “ I think to some extent we’re seeing that from Carmelo Anthony on the court as well. How many more years in a row does Carmelo wanna finish in the top 3 or 5 in scoring and get bounced in the first round? How many more years can he just worry about “getting his?” So far this season Carmelo is playing like a dude who realizes he’s already proved himself as an elite scorer and offensive player and he wants to finally prove himself in the other areas of the game. So far so good.” Now we’re still only a quarter of the way through the season but it looks like that may actually be what happened to Carmelo. Did I think it would ever happen? No. Did anybody? I’m sure a few loyal-to-a-fault Carmelo fans will tell you they did. But after watching 10 straight seasons of Carmelo being a pure scorer and nothing else, I thought it was too late for Carmelo to change. Its like RA Dickey reinventing himself as a knuckleballer – he’s a totally different pitcher now and much better as a result. Who saw that coming? Nobody.
Anyway my point here is that Kobe and all these people calling some Knicks fans flip floppers is so childish. The Carmelo I hated and the Carmelo I said could never win a title is not the guy on the floor anymore. Am I guilty of thinking Carmelo could never completely reinvent himself? Yes. But calling me a flip flopper because my opinion has changed, when the person we’re talking about has completely changed, is asinine. I realize I can never be considered Carmelo’s number 1 supporter but acting you can’t root for a guy after ever criticizing him is such a simpletons way of thinking. The New York fans and the New York media are tough and Carmelo has (so far) finally answered their call. He deserves credit now that he has.