Carmelo Anthony
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Despite a seemingly untimely end to his career last year, Carmelo Anthony still wants an unnecessary New York Knicks farewell tour.

Josh Benjamin

Oh, Carmelo Anthony. Why must we keep doing this dance?

Sorry, I should clarify. The former New York Knicks All-Star has found himself back in the Big Apple’s sports pages, and for odd reasons.

First, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported had the Knicks landed two top free agents, there was interest in bringing Anthony back.


Well, that didn’t happen. The Knicks missed out on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and others, so an Anthony reunion wasn’t in the cards.

Still, appearing on the hit radio show “The Breakfast Club,” Anthony’s trainer Chris Brickley said the former All-Star could still hang with the best in the NBA. As a result, he wants a “farewell tour” like his friend and future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade had last season.

OK, stop right there. Turn off the Cyclone. Cancel the weekend at the Jersey Shore. Don’t buy the Batmobile off eBay even if you’d look super cool driving it. If there’s anyone who doesn’t need a farewell tour, it’s Carmelo Anthony. This practice is reserved for universally beloved players or true blue icons.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, folks, but Anthony not either of those.

What is a farewell tour?

Farewell tours are not the same in sports as they are in, let’s say, music. This isn’t the Rolling Stones saying their current tour is their last one, albeit for the 1,000th time. This won’t start with a show in Milwaukee and end with one in Milan.

No, a farewell tour in sports is different. In this case, as we saw with Wade last year and Kobe Bryant in 2015, a retiring player has one last season. The difference is wherever he goes, he’s celebrated. Oftentimes, he gets a random gift from the opposing team.

To borrow from the baseball world, New York Yankees closer and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera had a farewell tour for the ages. It involved everything from him delivering pizza in Oakland to receiving a rocking chair made of broken bats as a gift.

Contrastingly, Bryant requested no extra fanfare for his farewell tour, though it fell on deaf ears.

Now, Carmelo Anthony, a man who never won a championship nor played in the NBA Finals, wants the same treatment, and he shouldn’t get it.

Why not Melo?

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Carmelo Anthony is a Hall of Fame player. He’s a 10-time All-Star, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and he has a scoring title to his name. If he were to call it quits now, he would retire having averaged 24 points per game and shot 44.9% from the field.

However, Anthony, unlike Bryant and the other aforementioned players, has never been a champion. In fact, he’s never even played in the NBA Finals. The closest he’s ever come is 2009. Then, his Denver Nuggets lost to Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Finals.

But wait, there’s more! Of the 11 times Carmelo Anthony has been to the playoffs, all but two trips ended with a first-round exit.

Maybe it was coaching. Maybe he didn’t have the right talent around him. Perhaps his inability to share the ball kept him from reaching the highest level, but that’s another conversation entirely.

Anthony may think he’s worthy of a farewell tour reminiscent of Bryant or Wade’s. Perhaps he and his trainer truly do think he is on their level.

The sad truth is he’s just not.

A bad downfall

Moreover, Carmelo Anthony’s career downfall has made it so even if some team does take a chance on him, does he really deserve a farewell tour?

Look at it this way. He last played for the Houston Rockets on Nov. 8 of last year. His Houston tenure lasted all of ten games before he and the team agreed to “part ways” and he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in January. He just couldn’t fit in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. Chicago waived Anthony and he hasn’t played since, though he did post 13.4 points per game with Houston.

Final thoughts

My point is this. Bryant too was a shell of himself his last season and Wade wasn’t at his best last season. However, both men were at least on teams which defined them throughout their careers. Bryant was a career Laker and won five rings. Wade wasn’t always with the Miami Heat but returned to them just so he could play one last season in South Beach where it all began.

Anthony, meanwhile, seems to be begging teams to take a flyer on him. It would be different if he wanted to join a contender for one last shot at a title. Instead, it just seems he wants to hear the fans’ cheers one more time in each city as he rides off into the sunset.

In fact, Brickle himself even admitted this in the aforementioned Breakfast Club interview:

“I think teams are afraid of, ‘I want to be a starter,’ or ‘I want this.’ That’s not the case, though. Melo just wants to have a final season, have a farewell season, do what D-Wade did. Do the jersey swap. He had a great career, he’s a Hall of Famer. So hopefully that can happen.”

Nothing about wanting to win. Nothing about wanting to prove his critics wrong. No, Carmelo Anthony just wants the fans’ affirmation before calling it quits.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not the mark of a great player. This is someone who wants something only for his own vanity.

Farewell tours should be rare. They should be special. And you know what? Let’s suppose a team takes a chance on Anthony and he gets his farewell tour.

The question is probably as follows: would people even care?

 

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