Melo's Transition Game
Drug bust. Bar fight. Gangster cameo. Benched at the Olympics. Feuds with his coaches. After a season to forget, 21-year-old Carmelo Anthony is an NBA star who’s now learning to live without the ball.
"The Olympics." He brings it up. It's as if he's been keeping all of this in, asking himself, "Why?" And now eager to give his answers. "Sometimes players and coaches have tension, that's what it was. One thing happened over there: We lost to Puerto Rico by like 35 points and I don't play. So I'm just sitting back and watching us lose. And then there's this big story: Carmelo Anthony's selfish and he's not putting his team first. How y'all gonna say I'm a selfish player if I didn't get in the game?"
From the topic of the Olympics he goes right on to the nightclub brawl: "Then I get home and we had a bar fight. My fiancée's ex-boyfriend spit an alcoholic beverage in her face, and it was just like a lot of things started happening back to back. I let a lot of stuff ride, but when the situation gets serious, it's time for me to step in. I'm disrespecting her if I stand there while he's spitting in her face. If any man could disagree with what I'm saying right now, they're not a real man."
The pot bust at DIA was the not-so-grand finale to what Anthony refers to as his "Dead Man Walking" phase. Almost everyone who heard his explanation laughed it off. Anthony said the backpack was his, but that it had been borrowed by his friend James Cunningham and the pot was Cunningham's. Indeed, Anthony's story sounded an awful lot like Greg Brady's excuse when Mrs. Brady found the pack of smokes in his varsity jacket: "But, mom, they're not mine." The charges were eventually dropped when Cunningham signed an affidavit admitting the marijuana was his.
"I wouldn't take pot anywhere, better yet to an airport," Anthony says, still pleading his case. "We had just gotten done playing the Milwaukee Bucks in Colorado Springs, so I came home and just grabbed a bag real quick.... I get to the airport scan. [Security says], 'Can you come with us please.' [They said], 'We're gonna ask you one more time, 'Do you have anything in your bag?' And I was like, 'No.' I took my bag off and I said, 'You can check.'... A lady whispered, 'Check all the pockets.' So the police checked the pockets and there was a small bag rolled up with marijuana. I was like, 'Oh my Goooood.' I just wanted to die right there." Maybe the difference is Greg Brady didn't sport cornrowed braids and a "Me Against the World" tattoo across his chest.