In one of the stranger comments of this tumultuous NBA offseason, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is claiming that his decision to stay in the Big Apple helped influence LeBron James in returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anthony made the comment to football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan as part of an interview in a recent edition of AdWeek Magazine.
“…watching LeBron (James) go back to Cleveland, did that affect your decision on staying in New York, and did you learn anything from watching LeBron go back home?”
“No. Honestly, I think it was the other way around. I think he saw when I came back home to New York and saw the response and saw the reaction and saw how at peace I was when I came back home… I’m pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that that was a very special moment, and he had the opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love.”
A number of factors seem to very strongly contradict Anthony’s viewpoint, the most obvious being the simple fact that James made his official announcement on July 11—the day before Anthony re-signed with the Knicks.
Another deals with the very public headlines about Anthony potentially leaving to play for either the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks. During this period, there was no indication that Anthony was enduring any emotional pull toward staying with the Knicks. If anything, the choice of teams primarily based in the league’s biggest markets points toward the heavy influence of his wife, a Reality TV star.
Finally, James returned to the team and city where he began his career, and was considering no other clubs–other than returning to the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, Anthony never once hinted that he thought about returning to the Denver Nuggets, the team he played for until forcing a trade to the Knicks in February 2011.
Also, James grew up roughly 30 miles from Quicken Loans Arena, whereas Anthony isn’t even from either New York or the tri-state area. He grew up in Baltimore, yet again, there was never any discussion of him signing with the up-and-coming Washington Wizards, much less the sad-sack Philadelphia 76ers.
In short, these comments seem to vanity-based, and should get him plenty of ink in New York papers. It would be par for the course for a player who had a painting of himself above the fireplace in his New York apartment.
The two players may be able to discuss this situation when the Cavaliers and Knicks take the court on October 30.