All the NBA stars who won gold medals yesterday looked ecstatic — and they really did; there was something oddly touching about these multimillionaires acting like giddy children — but to our eyes, nobody seemed quite as happy as Carmelo Anthony. You gotta love the guy who went directly for the Champagne in the team photo. (Carmelo's Instagram account was hopping all day, from the flag wristband to the poor teeth maintenance to the Stars and Stripes burlesque show.) Carmelo was a champion, even if he wasn't the best player on the court — or even one of the top five. Sometimes we worry that this is just encouraging him.
After all, this is the year that Carmelo's NBA legacy is on the line. The Knicks have surrounded him with supporting talent (if not Jeremy Lin, and, no, we're not letting that go) and this season is when he needs to have his best overall year: The sad thing is, as far behind the Heat (and the Lakers and the Thunder and the Spurs and the ...) as the Knicks seem to be, this probably is Carmelo's best chance to win a title. (We know, we know.) Carmelo is fully aware of it too.
“It’s the one thing that’s missing is the NBA championship,’’ Anthony said. “I had a chance to win in high school, college, now two gold medals. My next goal is try to win a championship.’’
We love the idea that Carmelo doesn't think his career will be complete until he has a title. We just aren't sold that it bothers him all that much. As much as Carmelo might seem himself in that LeBron "just need a title to be the superstar everyone knows I am" light, no one else does, including anyone who watched the gold medal game yesterday. Carmelo looked like a terrific complementary player, as long as the players he is complementing happen to be the best players on the planet. The Knicks need him to be more than that; they need him to be LeBron. He didn't look like no LeBron to us. Actually, now that we think about it, we get a sense that Carmelo's best chance at that title is gonna be signing up to play with the Heat for less money when his contract is up with the Knicks, Clyde Drexler–style. Which doesn't do anybody any good right now, though.
Still, glad you had fun yesterday, Carmelo. Heal that ankle. Your "championship run" awaits.