A few thoughts/notes on former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who retired earlier this week after 19 seasons in the NBA:
Every Knick fan has their own thoughts about Anthony’s legacy in New York. I shared some of mine here. Whatever you think of Anthony’s performance during his seven-plus seasons as a Knick, there’s one fact that’s indisputable: Anthony made a remarkable impact on hundreds of New Yorkers through his charity work.
A Boston Globe study found that the Carmelo Anthony Foundation was among the most successful and well-run charitable groups associated with a pro athlete. The article said that most of the money raised by Anthony’s foundation comes from Anthony himself. So there’s little overhead and most of the funds raised go straight to the community.
The local community benefited greatly from Anthony’s time in New York. Whether it was Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, the first week of school, or the aftermath of a hurricane, Anthony’s foundation helped people across the metro area.
Those close to him say Anthony was also a staple in local basketball courts and boxing gyms across the city.
“He wasn’t too big to make himself known in the local sports scene and boost people up,” Stuart Goldfarb, who founded a venture capital firm with Anthony, says. “The fact that he feels comfortable going to regular gyms in the community and working out, or working with young boxers, is incredible to me.”
Goldfarb said that the results on the court didn’t impact Anthony’s approach in the community.
“I’ve been around plenty of stars and famous people and most of the time it’s hard for them not to have some bitterness when things don’t go well; and I’ve never seen Melo bitter,” Goldfarb says. “He’s always grateful of the gifts he’s been given.”
We’ll all debate about Anthony’s Knick legacy -- the wins, the losses, the performances -- but he made a remarkable impact off the court.
Will No. 7 be retired?
Speaking of debates, there’s been a passionate debate on whether Anthony’s number should be retired. I don’t know if it will or will not end up in the rafters. What I know: before Anthony’s announcement, there was strong support among some in Madison Square Garden to retire the number. No decision has been made yet. The final decision, I’d assume, will be made by team governor James Dolan.
Anthony’s Knicks went to the playoffs three times and advanced past the first round one time. He propelled the Knicks to the postseason and had some fantastic regular seasons for the club. But if his number gets retired, wouldn’t the Knicks then have to consider players like Allan Houston and John Starks, who were key players on teams that won regularly and reached the NBA Finals? I’d put Charles Oakley in that group, but his court proceedings against Dolan and MSG will halt any conversation about retiring his number.
What about Bernard King? If Anthony’s number is retired, should King get the same honor?
Here’s a hypothetical: if Julius Randle makes a couple more All-Star teams and All-NBA teams as a Knick and the team wins a few more playoff series during that time, wouldn’t Randle have a legitimate case for a jersey retirement?
What about five-time All-Star Carl Braun? Six-time All-Star Richie Guerin? Seven-time All-Star Harry Gallatin?
The Knicks currently have nine players/coaches honored in the MSG rafters. Outside of Dick McGuire and Patrick Ewing, all of those players/coaches have won at least one title with the Knicks.
If the franchise retires Anthony’s number, it will at least open the conversation for several other Knicks.