Lincicome: Melo's train looks to be on wrong track
By Bernie Lincicome, Rocky Mountain News
September 17, 2004
Sooner or later it must be Carmelo Anthony's fault, all or some of these unfortunate smudges to his reputation as the next-to-the-next big thing.
Anthony seems to be in the wrong place a lot, whether it is at the Olympics as poster grump or at a New York nightclub during a recent fractious night out with his posse or ad-hocking his way through Nuggets games.
Excuses are left to those who tidy up behind him, grateful for the opportunity.
This is not an encouraging portrait of a young man who, at this time last year, seemed so full of promise and consideration, the confident conductor on the Nuggets' train to glory.
What was then generous seems now to lean more to selfish or to self-protecting, not that this is a condition uncommon to the famous and the over-petted.
After all, having your own candy bar and autobiography before you've lived long enough to finish either one might tend to warp one's perspective.
Anthony might be allowed Allen Iverson's attitude when he has done what Iverson has done or accomplished some part of what Iverson has accomplished. For now, all he shares with The Answer is antagonism of the same coach.
After all, Iverson couldn't get along with coach Larry Brown, either, so when Anthony became the wart on the rump of the Dream Team, this could be viewed with a sort of pride.
It takes some doing to be the greatest failure on a team of great failure.
I did hear in Athens that some USA Basketball clerks were so disappointed with the general attitude of not just Anthony but a couple of other NBA players that they wanted to send them home.
I was never able to confirm as much, but what was clear is that Anthony was the least favorite of any of the players. Brown simply did not have the time to teach him, to coddle him or to worry about hurting his feelings.
There was a gold medal to be lost, and the great favor Brown did for Anthony was to remove him from any real part in it.
Still, Brown's displeasure might have done Anthony's standing in the game more damage than Jeff Bzdelik's annoyance ever could, though poor Coach Buzz must grit his teeth and bear it, whereas Brown could simply tell Anthony to stay out of the way.
If Anthony loafed in Olympics practices, sulked in Olympics games and publicly wished to be anywhere but where he was, there were traces of the very same stuff during the Nuggets' season.
He got away with it here; he did not get away with it there.
Nothing Brown asked Anthony to do was different from what Bzdelik asks every day, over and over. And Anthony treated each request the same: He would do whatever he felt like doing.
Whether Anthony will benefit from rejection we shall see. Will he return to the Nuggets better for having his limitations exposed, or will he fall right back into his privileged slot as indulged savior?
The addition of Kenyon Martin by the Nuggets should be a worthy step forward, although Martin has a significant basketball pedigree, not to mention a headband, of his own. Ego being an undependable variable in the mix of a team, we can go only by what we have seen.
Unless it is on his terms, Anthony seems not to work well with others. Maybe Martin is generous enough not to want to be the star of the Nuggets, because there can be only one.
Maybe Anthony can fit in better with just one new teammate than he did with 11.
You do have to wonder if Anthony is fatally or only temporarily immature. Will he grow into the leader he must be, the teammate he must be, or will he become a waste of Rocky Mountain time?
This latest business at a Manhattan salsa club called Babalu would be merely titillating had it not fit so neatly into the direction Anthony seems to be drifting. What happened is not clear, but whatever happened is not good for Anthony.
It apparently involved, at the least, a new girlfriend and an old boyfriend, angry words and hot tempers. Punches were or were not thrown. Nobody seemed to think it was a big deal.
This might be routine business in the late-night music world, and if it is, it is not the world Anthony should be risking his world in.
Anthony needs something good to happen to him, and the publishing of his autobiography, while admirable for what it is - a book to inspire youngsters - does not cancel the recent rest.