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Media Fails Melo Again, Justifying Why He Wants No Part of it Post Career

by Photo of Tommy Dee

Isn’t Melo’s selfish reputation the fault of the media?

Media Fails Melo Again, Justifying Why He Wants No Part of it Post Career

In this article…

This week Eli Saslow, a writer for ESPN's print publication also known as "The Magazine", contributed his part of dumping dirt on the dying profession of sports journalism in his latest feature on the business life of the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.

The title of the article dubbed "Carmelo Anthony Means Business" is compelling enough suck a reader in, at least initially, but it's so general that a warning sticker should be attached. The sub headline validates the trepidation that ESPN has drilled into the sports fan's psyche over the past decade.

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"Selfish? Greedy? The Knicks star knows his rep. But he has a plan to change all that. Make more money."

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It gets worse with the lede sentence...

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"Carmelo Anthony arrives a few minutes late to his second job..."

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Off the bat Saslow has led the reader to several implications which need to be firmly addressed. The first is that Melo IS IN FACT "selfish" and "greedy" and is okay and comfortable with it; after all he has a plan to, you guessed it, become EVEN RICHER! The second implication is, because he's so selfish and greedy in working a second job, he's struggling with time management with his first job. Forget traffic or maybe family, he's doing too much! He's stretching himself thin!

Selfish? Greedy? Let's analyze this further in trying to identify how Melo become known for these qualities. What got us all to this point where Melo's REPUTATION is associated with such poor human characteristics. Let's keep reading... wait, a-ha!

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"So who exactly is Carmelo Anthony?" asks the branding expert, Anthony Rodriguez, kicking off the meeting. "What do you want to be known for?"

"That right there is the big question," Anthony says.

"Are you a basketball player? A New York Knick? The league's most unstoppable scorer?" Rodriguez asks.

"No way," Anthony says. "This isn't just about basketball. I hate just being known that way. It's got to be bigger than that."

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Wait, I thought it's been established that he was aware of his well-known reputation as a selfish, greedy athlete? You'd think if he actually WERE aware of this he'd want to do something about it, right? But whatever, let's keep reading...

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"Syracuse is the one place where he is still uniformly beloved, still a winner, and where nobody debates his abilities, his motives or his legacy. 'It was all pretty simple there,' he says, because that was before the money and all the criticisms that came with it: selfish, greedy, overpaid. 'Twelve years since then,' he says. 'Can you believe that? And that right there is the last time my reputation was really exactly how I wanted it to be.'"

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Hold on just a second. Salsow slips in the idea of him being "selfish, greedy, overpaid." Melo's quotes tell me what the reputation he's craving for is and that's AS A WINNER. Am I missing something?

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"He just signed a five-year contract with the Knicks worth $124 million, forgoing a better chance to win a quick NBA title with the Bulls and instead staying with a lesser team that offered a longer, more lucrative deal. "I've got money. That's not the problem," he says. The problem as he sees it is that he is still defined mostly by what he lacks. No championships. No universal adoration. No sense of peace with his own place in the world as he begins the transition from the prime to the twilight of his career.

"What I really want is a bulletproof legacy," he says. "How can I be known for being a visionary, for being truly great?"

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No mention of taking LESS than the max to stay in New York? Like that doesn't matter? And wouldn't the SELFISH thing have been for Melo to LEAVE New York after WANTING THE CHALLENGE OF PLAYING HERE to go join A MORE TALENTED TEAM? Wouldn't being selfish be taking the short cut to a title at the expense of the team that traded for him thus LEAVING THEM NOTHING?

This is what is so hard to digest for me. The media forms Melo's reputation and it starts with his game. He shoots too much. He's too inefficient. Doesn't play defense. ESPN, and other media outlets celebrate LeBron James in such a way that it's a deterrent to Melo. When LeBron chose Miami it was more than just a roster move. It was a shift in the narrative in the standard of athletes and it's why so many ex-players like Charles Barkley spoke out about it. What LeBron did was do the best thing for HIM and his legacy and career. He wanted to win multiple titles and took a short cut. DOING THE BEST THING FOR YOURSELF WITHOUT REGARD FOR OTHERS IS THE DEFINITION OF SELFISH. But because LeBron took less money the media let's him off the hook. Having "The Decision" on ESPN secured the World Wide Leader's soft stance on James.  

I mean, because LeBron averages more assists as a player must make him LESS SELFISH THAN MELO OFF THE COURT, right?

Even Melo knows his reputation is a farce. A figment of the media's imagination and collective agendas.

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"I'm more misunderstood than most people," he says, and he can't escape the feeling that his reputation is solidifying and he is running out of time.

"As an athlete, you don't really have a voice," he says. "Everything you say or do, people have a million opinions about it, so it doesn't really get heard the way you want it to get heard. People are putting things on you and shaping your reputation, and you don't really have control."

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He's right. Moreover, so are the many falsehoods attached to Melo coming to New York from Denver. The first being the idea that Melo "should have just waited until free agency and signed with the Knicks in 2011. Let's go back in time. With the impending CBA meetings and the understanding that there probably was going to be a work stoppage debating over the shrinking salary cap and basketball-related income, Melo was looking at losing upwards of millions of dollars had he turned down his 3 year/$65 million dollar extension. No one in their right mind lets that money walk away with that much uncertainty. No agent would continue to be employed if that were allowed to happen, especially one that built the biggest sports agency in the world. More importantly, however, was IT WASN'T SELFISH, IT WAS THE RIGHT DECISION.

"But Tommy, what about the trade demands? If he didn't force his way here there would be more assets to help build around him."

I hear this all the time and the lack of clarity bothers me. Melo was never signing the extension with Denver. NEVER. And he wasn't signing the extension with the Nets. I know this because I reported it first which was later confirmed by my friend Chris Sheridan. Add that to what we already reiterated about free agency not being an option and you have the reason for why the trade went down why it did.

Now ask yourself with this knowledge, which I can assure you is fact, does this make Melo selfish and greedy? What choice did he really have? He wanted to play for the Knicks.Let's leave that there for a second and touch on Saslow's second implication. Melo's "second job" has him stretched thin. That his "technology tycoon" legacy is taking away from on court focus.

Ask LeBron about that.

  

Ask the Utah Jazz about that.  

Granted, the piece was conceived before these games but still. What Melo is doing is SMART and here's why. Truth be told, Melo's office is right next to our offices in DUMBO, Brooklyn, which is quickly being recognized as one of the hottest technology start up hubs in the country. It's New York's Silicon Valley. I know this because my company has been down here grinding and growing for the last 4 years. Melo is investing in some really smart people and companies and he's setting himself up for life after basketball with the vision of Mark Cuban, not Mark Jackson. He wants to be Gary V, not Dicky V.  

Smart.

Think about it, what's Charles Barkley's legacy? Patrick Ewing's? Chuck was a great player who is a free speaking media personality. Ewing went the coaching route still looking for a head job. Scottie Pippen went bankrupt for crying out loud. Chris Webber does play-by-play. 

What's Magic Johnson's legacy?   

Melo doesn't want to coach and he doesn't want to be reliant on the media for work going forward. Even people with massive amounts of wealth continue to work and that doesn't make them "selfish" or "greedy."  What's clear is that people associate Melo the player with Melo the person and that's their mistake. Charles Oakley, a Knicks legend and fan favorite, personally oversaw his franchises of car washes during his playing days and I don't remember anyone complaining about his focus. It's easy to assume that the reason for that is either they didn't know, or they associated Oak's "workmen-like" approach on the floor to that off of it in business.

This article is a classic example of why players hate the media, particularly journalists, and I can speak to this because I was an editor in the sports publishing world and saw this first hand. For an athlete of Melo's caliber, the situation happens like this: magazine editors pitches an idea to Melo's agent, that Melo agrees to. This forces him to spend a few hours with someone he's probably never met, let them observe him, say goodbye and, literally, forget that person the moment they leave. Months later when the piece is complete the athlete remembers back to that day, barely, and trusts one of his or her entourage member's reading comprehension skills to debrief him or her on the context, the writer of the story and if that writer stuck to the initial pitch. 

Smart and successful people plan in advance and what Melo is doing is exactly that. Of the people I talk to who know Melo, he wants to return many things back to the communities that he came from and that, by definition, is the OPPOSITE of selfishness. Why wasn't any of that mentioned? The article is a poor depiction of Melo's attempt to change his image through the media, who ironically are the ones responsible for his misinterpreted reputation in the first place. You can't give back, and plan to give back, and be considered selfish. You can, however, plan for your future while trying to win at the ultimate level at the same time. 

The article is another attempt to clarify who Carmelo Anthony and hopes to be is. But it's soaked with insinuations that have been poured on Melo the player convicting Melo the person by the same media who created it. 

And, once again, that is a shame. 


Comments (10)Add a comment
  1. Michael Dimaio 's profile

    Michael Dimaio

    November 23rd, 2014 @16:17

    When you use lots of all-caps, that's how you KNOW SOMEONE IS RIGHT. This is incoherent and really, really dumb.

  2. Tommy Dee's profile

    Tommy Dee

    November 23rd, 2014 @19:58

    It can't be incoherent if it caused a response, Michael.

  3. Michael Dimaio 's profile

    Michael Dimaio

    November 23rd, 2014 @20:26

    Sure it can. Someone--you--screamed in all-caps. I responded because it was incoherent and dumb. This is your problem. You don't understand what words mean. And get yourself an editor, Mr. "Former Editor." There are countless typos, spelling errors and words used incorrectly. For example: "it's a deterrent to Melo." The praise of LeBron isn't stopping or hindering Melo, it's an unfair comparison. (It isn't, but whatever.) You mean "detriment." Also, "Let's" means "let us." You mean lets as in "permits" or "allows."

  4. Tommy Dee's profile

    Tommy Dee

    November 23rd, 2014 @20:36

    If you knew what I meant then it's not incoherent, right?

  5. Tommy Dee's profile

    Tommy Dee

    November 23rd, 2014 @20:37

    Forget the typos. Our editor will clean those up. Isn't the real point of this piece crystal clear?

  6. Michael Dimaio 's profile

    Michael Dimaio

    November 23rd, 2014 @21:55

    No.

  7. Tommy Dee's profile

    Tommy Dee

    November 24th, 2014 @8:09

    Read it again and give it a shot...

  8. Michael Dimaio 's profile

    Michael Dimaio

    November 24th, 2014 @14:54

    I'd rather eat dirt. Learn to write and read, and we can talk.

  9. Michael Dimaio 's profile

    Michael Dimaio

    November 26th, 2014 @15:48

    Still haven't given the piece an edit, huh? Nice journalistic standards.

  10. Bob Turner 's profile

    Bob Turner

    February 25th, 2015 @15:53

    I really, really want back the minutes of my life I lost forever while reading this garbage. And by the way, a deranged man on PCP howling gibberish might provoke a response from me -- that doesn't mean he was coherent.

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