Melo was destined to be one of the greats. Armed with a knife of a jab step, a buttery jumpshot, and two first names (think: Michael and Jordan, Kobe and Bryant, LeBron and James) Melo could score like few other players in the history of the game. In what was probably his most successful year individually, 2012-2013, he hung a cool 50 on LeBron James’ Heat, nearly exclusively scoring on jumpshots. That game finds me as his crowning achievement. He shot the shots he wanted, and he was so good it didn’t matter that they were all well-defended. He was a master artist who came of age a little too late, like a ragtime drummer born just at the tail-end of jazz’s heyday. I can’t say I’m an unabashed Melo fan. I’ve long criticized him, including getting into a fight with my high school point guard about how Paul George was better because he played defense. I eventually conceded my point out of deference to the Knicks, but deep down I still thought I’d rather have PG. Blemishes will stain Melo’s career when it’s all said and done, which is increasingly appearing to be closer to fruition than I expected. And that’s okay. It’s what he deserves.
Last Wednesday, a fight broke out in the lower echelon of the historic Madison Square Garden in which Knicks legend Charles Oakley, a member of their 1994 NBA finals run, was not only forcefully removed from the building but furthermore arrested and detained in the same venue that once celebrated him.
Let’s get this out of the way. The Los Angeles Lakers suck, and that’s the point. They are 12-32. They will not make the playoffs for a second straight season – something that has not happened in nearly 40 years. Needless to say, the championship teams at the turn of the decade have been completely…
But an equally impressive feat is being achieved by that sad team known as the New York Knicks. Currently sporting a hideous 5-32 record, the Knicks are making the Philadelphia 76ers, who have been shamelessly tanking for the better part of the last two seasons, look like world beaters.
There’s something magical about March Madness.
When else would we closely follow a Butler versus Bucknell matchup? When else would we realize that there’s a school named Florida Gulf Coast? And when else could I convince my mom to join the family in trying to predict the results of 67 basketball games?