Photo: New York Post
The basic unit of sport is a game. A game is premised on suspense: two teams compete to see who, in the end, will emerge the victor.There’s a pay-off there. Sure, winning matters more if it’s, say, the Super Bowl. But that basic structure of tension and release is always at the heart of competition.
Even in the most meaningless games, where the players themselves may not even be all that invested in winning, there’s uncertainty. Who will care less? That’s it’s own kind of drama.
I’m bringing this up because, halfway through the 2010-11 season, the question of Carmelo Anthony’s future has arguably been the biggest story going.
Blake Griffin isn’t yet a household name, and the Heat didn’t quite capture the public’s imagination as expected. But Anthony, a superstar possibly looking to change teams, has come to dominate the news whenever there’s some new rumour, or flicker, to be noted. Some story lines, like Melo joining the Knicks, are in many ways as exciting as anything in this very, very good NBA season.
But really, how much do we care where Carmelo Anthony ends up? Anthony is famous, wealthy, and a tremendous pure scorer. He is insanely marketable and is one half of a celebrity power couple. However, the buzz created by the “What Will Carmelo Do?” scenario, which matches last year’s LeBron James-athon, just isn’t appropriate. When Anthony settles on a destination, and then suits up for that team, we will all be reminded that he is not a perennial MVP candidate. He is not on the level of LeBron or Dwyane Wade.
Appropriately, no one’s really paying attention to Anthony’s play this season, even as his name appears non-stop in the headlines. He dropped 50 the other night, and it might as well have never happened. That’s understandable, since the man can score, and sometimes he gets that hot. But it’s almost as if, rather than pay attention to what Melo really is, we would prefer to use him as a mechanism to generate maximum suspense. Unfortunately, the pay-off may be sorely lacking.
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