Amid a wild weekend in sports, Carmelo Anthony stole some headlines from another New York City mogul, waiving his no-trade clause to join Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the Oklahoma City Thunder after seven mercurial seasons on the Knicks in a deal that took the NBA world by surprise.
The Knicks formally announced the finalization of the trade on Monday morning, and almost simultaneously Anthony published a farewell letter to the city of New York on his personal website. The letter reads like a love poem and ends with the following: “I was given a choice to sink or swim. I’m choosing to swim. ‘Til the very end. No matter how much the seas around me may rage.”
Anthony praised the city for teaching him “how to survive within the belly of the beast,” alluding to both his Brooklyn childhood and a recent rocky relationship with New York, which even included Knicks president Phil Jackson criticizing him for holding the ball too much and lacking the will to win.
“I came to NYC to B (Be) Born again,” Anthony wrote of the years in between. “The sense of something extraordinary happening left me with a lot of sleepless nights dreaming of possibilities. The one thing I kept telling myself was ‘Make my mark in NYC and I’d be a made man.’
“New York equipped me to make it in any other place in the world. It taught me how to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable. Saying Goodbye is the hardest thing to do. I never thought I would, especially to you. No one will ever take your place. It’s hard to find someone like you, so know you will always be missed. You helped me laugh. You dried my tears. Because of you, I have no fears. You came into my life and I was blessed. It’s time to raise my hand and say goodbye. It’s not the end, because like I’ve always said, NYC ‘til the end.
“I’ve known you for years now, and I must say they’ve been the best years I’ve ever had. You helped me become the person I am today. I just want you to know YOU will always be in my heart. No matter what happens, I will always LOVE YOU. Although this goodbye is just temporary, this is the hardest goodbye for me to say. I wipe the tears off my cheek and smile at the same time because I know that we will meet again someday. ‘I’ve had my shining moments, upon this life darkened stage.’ And in my BOOK of WONDERMENTS, you will never be just another page. Your bright lights will travel with me far past when all the other lights go out.”
The 10-time NBA All-Star added, “Thank you to All My Fans who supported me through Thick and Thin. And those who continued to support The Knicks regardless of the outcome. Thank You to Jim Dolan and the Knicks organization and all the hardworking people that don’t get the credit they deserve. And most importantly, Thank you to the City of New York for allowing me to represent OUR city.”
Jackson’s replacement, new president of basketball operations Steve Mills, returned the favor. Sort of:
“This is a deal we feel works for both this franchise and Carmelo,” Mills said in a statement. “We thank him for his seven seasons in a Knicks uniform and all that he accomplished off the court for the City of New York by using his platform to address social issues. We will continue to focus on this team looking forward towards the immediate and long-term future. As we have said recently, this is a new beginning for the New York Knicks.”
Coincidentally, the Thunder host the Knicks in their season opener on Oct. 19. Anthony will make his only appearance of the season at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 16 — almost seven years to the day since he last played there as an opponent against the Knicks. Tickets are still available.
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