After witnessing Carmelo have one of the worst All-Star Game performances I have ever seen, in a game he probably shouldn’t have even been playing in, I found out your Knicks tenure was coming to an end after you and Knicks had reached a buyout agreement. Initially, I was ecstatic, after a long 4 and a half years, I figured it was best for both parties to just move on. But later that night, I couldn’t help to feel a little bit depressed; for the rest of my life, I’ll always wonder, what could have been. You had a chance to be on the Mount Rushmore of Knicks big men, but unfortunately I’m not convinced you even crack the top 25 Knicks of all time. You will forever be associated to Allan Houston, another former Knick, who signed a $100 million contract, and failed to live up to expectations.
But unlike in 2001, when we were dumbfounded when Allan Houston signed his $100 million dollar contract, the majority of the Knick fan base (including myself) was openly excited when you signed your deal (even though it was uninsured) in the summer of 2010 and proclaimed, “The Knicks are back.” Unlike Allan Houston, you had that it factor; I watched you go toe to toe with Tim Duncan, the greatest power forward to ever play, on several occasions in the playoffs. The fan base could sense the Knicks were heading in a positive direction. I still believe to this day you would have stayed in Phoenix had they offered you the same deal, but we were just glad to have a superstar, it had been almost a decade since Patrick Ewing was infamously traded to Seattle. We had to endure a long two years of horrendous basketball, waiting for this moment. I’ll admit, you weren’t our first choice; hell you weren’t even the second or third choice for some people. Of course, we all wanted Lebron; others preferred, Chris Bosh, or Joe Johnson.
Although I knew there was diminutive chance we’d get Lebron I was still dejected when Lebron, Wade and Bosh decided to construct a potent trio in Miami, but I still maintained on to the idea that hopefully one day, we could form our own trio. Soon after you signed, to my satisfaction, I remember reading rumors about you, Melo, and Chris Paul, joining forces to form a new potent trio. I’ll never forget your first season in a Knick uniform; you brought electricity back to the Garden, and was a legitimate MVP candidate. Your two and a half week stretch where you averaged 34 points, and 11 rebs, including nine straight 30-point games, was some of the most superb basketball I’ve ever seen by someone in a Knick uniform. When the Knicks acquired Melo later that year, your effectiveness was affected, but I was still on cloud nine because the Knicks had reached the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Over the next few years you became a cap casualty as your play deteriorated due to your body starting to break down and unfortunately, we never got to see you, Chris, and Melo unite at the Garden. You have to forgive the Knick fans who wanted the team to get rid of you. It’s nothing personal, it’s been over 40 years since we’ve seen the Knicks host the Larry O’Brien Trophy. We have to deal with an incompetent owner, probably the most imprudent owner in sports history, who somehow seems to manage to make ill-advised decisions on a daily basis, including accusing die-hard fans of being alcoholics.
I could never forgive you for injuring yourself in Game 2 against the Celtics, when you attempted a dunk during warm-ups and embarrassing yourself by punching a fire extinguisher after a playoff loss to Miami. In addition, you were one of the worst defenders I’ve ever seen. With that being said, I always defended you for helping bring Knicks basketball back to relevance. Soon after your departure, Carmelo stated, “People started believing in the New York Knicks again. He was the main reason for that belief and for that hope.”
In addition, you were one of the nicest Knicks I have ever had the pleasure to meet. As a former MSG employee, I was lucky enough to attend two of your Christmas events in which all of the employees received free breakfast. I remember you telling all of the employees how hard you’ve worked to become a professional basketball player and how we could achieve our goals if we were willing to work hard. I will ever be indebted to you for your gratitude.
As I was writing this letter to you, I have found out you have committed to the Mavericks. Unfortunately, you will not have a chance to return to the Garden. Still, I look forward to seeing what a positive impact you will make, as they look to get back to the NBA Finals while competing in an arduous Western Conference. Whenever you make your return to “The World’s Most Famous Arena”, I pray the fans award you with a standing ovation. But even if they don’t, realize there is at least one fan appreciates all of your contributions.
A die-hard Knicks fan