Hello Melo, Goodbye Complacency

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 2/25/11

It was an opportunity for the New York Knicks to honor their past, but instead, Legends Night was all about their future.

Chants of “Me-lo…Me-lo…Me-lo” rained down from above on Wednesday night at the World’s Most Famous Arena.  With team icons like Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and John Starks in attendance for scheduled halftime ceremonies, Carmelo Anthony made his debut in a Knicks uniform.

Carmelo Anthony Came Home, to New York.

After an electrifying video tribute, and a dramatic introduction, the prodigal son dropped 27 points, pulled down 10 boards, and put the buzz back into Madison Square Garden.

He came home.

Less than twenty-four hours after officially being acquired by the Knicks, the Brooklyn-born, and Syracuse Alum, Anthony joined forces with Amar’e Stoudemire to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108, and in the process, give Knicks fans hope.

The NBA in 2011 is all about power alliances – top players hand-picking their landing spots to play alongside other superstars.  With STAT and ‘Melo, the Knicks now have their two stars.  For suffering Knicks fans, this development couldn’t be any more comforting.

The Batman and Robin-like union brings new expectations to the orange and blue.  Over the last nine seasons, the Knicks have averaged 31 wins.  That futile result is no longer acceptable.  It will take time for this team to gel, but they are now in a position to compete for a title every season.  No more excuses.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Knicks Owner, James Dolan confirmed Wednesday that Donnie Walsh – not Isiah Thomas – is responsible for this turnaround and for Anthony’s acquisition.  It took three seasons, but Walsh has managed to dig New York out of the dark hole Thomas left them in when he departed in 2008.

Wednesday night was not about the past though.  It was about a bright future, on the brightest of stages…Broadway.  The Knicks certainly paid a hefty price to land Anthony, but the players they parted with were nice role players at best.  Carmelo is a legitimate superstar – a top 5 talent in the NBA.  They are better equipped to compete with teams like Miami and Boston with ‘Melo.  Without him, they were just an above average team.  With him, they can be great.

Together, Stoudemire and Anthony will attract a lot of attention, and future big-name free agents, back to Madison Square Garden, setting the Knicks up to compete for a championship in the coming years.

Yes, like the history they honored Wednesday night, the future appears bright for the New York Knickerbockers.  Stoudemire was the first piece to the puzzle, but Anthony’s acquisition has put the sizzle back in MSG.  The Knicks are relevant, exciting, and capable of achieving greatness.

All because, he came home.

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