Carmelo Anthony has some facts for the NBA. ’Melo says the late great commissioner David Stern “ran the NBA like a Mob boss” and he has first-hand experience with this.
David Stern Was A Mob Boss
In 2006 when ’Melo was still early in his career, his Denver Nuggets team got into a wild brawl in Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks near the end of a blowout Denver victory.
Videos of the fracas show ’Melo, who had not been involved in the play that instigated the melee, run over to Knicks guard Mardy Collins, knock him down with a punch to the face, and then quickly retreat backward to the Denver bench as the incident escalated to involve practically all the players from both sides.
His punishment was a 15-game suspension from Stern. The incident came two years after the Malice at the Palace in Detroit.
During an appearance on the “Million Dollaz Worth Of Game” podcast, ’Melo spoke about his suspension and how he felt like NBA commissioner David Stern was a “part of the feds.” Carmelo even claimed there was a situation where Stern told him that he knew when he went to bed and even when he woke up.
“‘I know who you with. I know where you live at. ‘I know where they live at. I know when you close your eyes. I know when you wake up. And I know what they doin,’ he’s telling me,” Melo explained. “And I’m like damn, how the f—? That’s when I knew NBA was part of the feds. He told me, ‘I gotta make an example out of you.’ That’s a fact. He said, ‘I know everything. I know your whole crew. I know who’s doing what.’
Stephen A. Smith brought that incident up again in the aftermath of the recent Ja Morant suspension. He warned Morant against the same things that Melo was referring to. He has made himself a target as one of the faces of the league and his actions are being watched by law enforcement and league “detectives”. Flashing guns on IG and promoting an image that goes against everything the corporate NBA culture wants to promote to fans can lead to unnecessary fines or even suspensions. Also, these things damage your brand and earning potential.
Lately Melo has been training his son Kiyan and preparing him for a future in college and the NBA. He’s also been working out and trying to maneuver a free agent destination. Reports say the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns are interested. A return to the NY Knicks might also be in play as there are plenty of people who feel he still has some unfinished business at Madison Sqaure Garden.
Carmelo getting his son Kiyan RIGHT 💯 @carmeloanthony @Cbrickley603
(via @lala) pic.twitter.com/fA5FZfywoM
— Overtime (@overtime) September 19, 2021
Ja Morant Can Learn From LeBron’s Journey Off The Court
The kind of power and recognition Ja is looking for away from the court can be obtained by following LeBron James’ blue print. Players have often touted Kobe Bryant as being their basketball muse. King James however is their business and life wellness blue print. He accumulated the wealth and power within the league to play chess in his favor.
In Anthony’s case, James used the juice he had to position his teams for a championship. When he brought an aging Melo to the Lakers in 2021, James realized that at 37 years old Anthony was running out of chances to add a championship to his Hall of Fame career.
There has been a definite power shift in the National Basketball Association from LeBron James’ influence and dominance. James delivered more for the game than expected from the buzz surrounding him as a high school player coming straight to the league.
He has changed the narrative of the single-minded athlete from solo winner to collectively bargained game changer. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were winners at all costs; LeBron is perceived as the winner by team choice.
He maneuvers where the longevity, wisdom, and right piece are in the front office and on the court. But he also is smart enough to convince people to move people to his team for their benefit, not just his own.
The key to LeBron’s popularity, power and success has been the way he conducts himself off the court. LeBron entered the league with more pressure and hype than Ja Morant could imagine, and he was able to master the corporate game and become the game’s biggest brand. Even when Bron dipped into murky waters and spoke on social issues such as racism, police brutality and politics — issues that make your corporate backers cringe– Bron stood on a moral high ground and never promoted violence, guns or stereotypical attitudes. His staunchest critics couldn’t do anything but applaud his approach.
Ja has to figure out what kind of NBA face he wants to be. An example of Black money gone wild, or a building block for the future.
Former Glories Revisited
The last time Carmelo Anthony tasted a championship was in college at Syracuse in 2003. In his lone year in college, he won a national title while being named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
But even the Orangemen star had to earn his stripes once he entered the NBA. The Lakers were Anthony’s sixth team since entering the NBA after his freshman year in Syracuse. To that point it was 18 years and no rings to claim.
Anthony went from a lagging player mired in former glories to a standout player on the Portland Trail Blazers. His last gasp was with the Lakers, but don’t count him out.
Does loyalty exist in pro sports?@carmeloanthony shares his thoughts. pic.twitter.com/TgIVnBBydD
— ESPN (@espn) September 14, 2021
Ja Morant would be wise to heed the words of these NBA greats. The indefinite suspension, media circus and subsequent investigation by Memphis police gives Ja some time to really reflect on the power his actions hold. We don’t know if he’s going to have any regrets, but he does have to decide now how he wants to use his celebrity and gifts going forward. We have rappers and Tik Tok to promote nonsense to the youth. Ja has a rare opportunity to change the world in some ways. Is he going to be a million-dollar headache for billionaires. Or a beacon of light and hope for young Black men?