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Kobe Bryant rips media for criticizing Carmelo Anthony

Kobe-Bryant-Carmelo-AnthonyKobe Bryant has a message for all those who enjoy criticizing Carmelo Anthony: enough is enough. When Jeremy Lin led the New York Knicks on an improbable winning streak last season while Anthony was out with an injury, the media had a field day bashing Carmelo. Many writers, analysts and fans were quick to accuse him of being the problem. Kobe says he’s the solution.

“I think last year was very tough for him because he was criticized a lot for shooting and for playing the way he likes to play,” Bryant told reporters after the Knicks beat the Lakers on Thursday, via the NY Daily News. “Then the whole Linsanity thing and everybody said, ‘Well, they’re better without Melo’ and all this nonsense. You guys are all guilty of it. … And as a result, he got a little gun-shy and a little self-conscious about things.”

This season, Carmelo has been the best player on one of the best team in the Eastern Conference. He is averaging 27.9 points per game after dropping 30 on L.A. on Thursday night and is very much in the early-season MVP discussion. During the London Olympics, Kobe said he asked Anthony why he is letting what people say about him affect his game.

“I asked him, ‘What the hell are you doing? You have to do what you do best.’” Bryant said. “Now, the organization has put pieces around him that have allowed him to be Melo. And now you guys are all celebrating him for things he’s always done. It’s funny. God bless you guys.”

Meanwhile, the Knicks’ convincing win over the Lakers improved their record to 17-5 while L.A. proved once again that defense is a major concern, dropping its record to 9-14. Kobe said on Wednesday that ‘Melo is the most difficult player for him to cover in the NBA, and that was evident right from the start on Thursdsay. At the moment, these are two teams that are headed in entirely separate directions.

Kobe Bryant: Carmelo Anthony is the hardest player to defend in the NBA

Kobe-Bryant-Carmelo-AnthonyThroughout his 16-year career, Kobe Bryant has often drawn the assignment of defending an opposing team’s best player. He has had some epic battles with great players like Paul Pierce and LeBron James, but Kobe says one stands above the rest as the most difficult to cover. That man is Carmelo Anthony.

During an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Wednesday, Kobe was asked if Anthony is more difficult to play against than LeBron.

“For me, yeah,” he responded. “Melo does it all and he’s as strong as a bull. For me, I weigh (180 pounds) soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it’s fun but it’s extremely challenging.”

LeBron has about 20 pounds on Carmelo and appears equally quick on the court, so you would think he’d be even more of a bull. One important thing to note is that the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the New York Knicks on Thursday night, so Bryant could simply be talking up his next opponent.

Having said that, Anthony is a more consistent outside shooter than LeBron who can also take it to the rim. I’m not saying Carmelo is a better player overall, but his jump shot could make him more difficult to cover than LeBron in a way. Anthony’s weakness has always been defense, while LeBron is considered great on both sides of the ball. Unless James is in a serious rhythm, a lot of defenders don’t mind allowing him to shoot from 20 feet and beyond. The same can’t be said of Anthony.

George Karl: Carmelo Anthony is going to win a championship someday

George Karl has not had many good things to say about Carmelo Anthony since the Denver Nuggets traded him to the New York Knicks two seasons ago. Many have painted Carmelo as a selfish player who is unwilling to buy into the team mentality, and Karl has done nothing to change that perception. However, the Nuggets coach recently praised Anthony for changing his game.

“I’ve said I feel that Carmelo is going to win a championship someday,” Karl told the New York Times. “He’s going to figure out that the numbers and the stats sheets aren’t important. It’s the scoreboard and the intangibles that make winners champions.”

Of course, Karl’s latest comments come on the heels of a 15-5 start from the Knicks that has them looking like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. New York has not lost a game at home and — perhaps most surprisingly — has played tremendous defense throughout the first 15 games of the season. As for the talk about ‘Melo being selfish, Karl says he would say that about any player he coached during their early years.

“I can say that about everybody I’ve coached, except Chauncey Billups or Nate McMillan, in my career,” Karl said. “I can say that about Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp and a lot of great young guys.”

Last season, Karl said he wanted to beat the Knicks badly and that he got sick of all the Anthony talk when he coached him. He obviously changed his tune a bit prior to his team’s loss to New York on Sunday night. Personally, I feel that Karl’s past criticism of ‘Melo has been warranted. If he can learn to share the ball more and be a consistent defender, the Knicks will be a dangerous team for the long haul.

Stephon Marbury: Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can’t win together

The visions that Knicks fans had of the Larry O’Brien trophy over a year ago when the team signed Amar’e Stoudemire and then acquired Carmelo Anthony have all but disappeared. After more than a season of sub-.500 ball together, it’s starting to look like the Knicks need more than just ‘Melo and Amar’e to contend for a title. In fact, many wonder if they will have to get rid of one of their stars in order to do so.

Stephon Marbury believes they will. Simply put, Marbury doesn’t think Stoudemire and Anthony are a good fit together.

“Amare needs a point guard like Steve Nash (to thrive),” Marbury told ESPN New York on Wednesday. “He’s a pick-and-roll guy, a pick-and-pop guy. He can’t play in the half court where everything’s slowed down.”

Marbury has a point, and that became evident when Stoudemire thrived with ‘Melo on the bench and Jeremy Lin running the point. When asked if he believes Carmelo and Amar’e can win together, Stephon simply said “nope” before questioning the Knicks’ motivation behind trading for ‘Melo.

“I don’t know if (Knicks owner James) Dolan brought him in to win games or to make money,” he said. “I think it was to make money.”

Marbury has been known for saying some pretty crazy stuff and we know he hates the Knicks, but his assessment is actually spot-on here. Stoudemire relies on steady point guard play in order to thrive, and he doesn’t get that with a guy like Anthony who needs the ball in his hands most of the time. Will it ever work? Only time will tell, but at this point there’s no reason to believe it will.

Carmelo Anthony’s stop snitching drug video resurfaces in anti-Obama talks

carmelo lala anthonyWhat was supposed to be a joyous time for Carmelo Anthony turned into one where his past mistakes were rehashed. The five-time NBA All-Star was stoked to be a guest at President Barack Obama’s “Obama Classic” basketball-themed fundraiser on Wednesday, but instead he’s being mentioned in anti-Obama campaign talks because of his appearance in a 2004 “Stop Snitching” video.

Melo made headlines when he appeared in an underground “Stop Snitching” video in his hometown of Baltimore, Md., in 2004. The video preached police defiance and discouraged viewers from snitching on drug dealers by threatening them with violence. Melo’s appearance in the video suggested a tacit approval of its message. He denied that was the case.

“You watch music videos all day and see that,” he said. “You could say the same thing if I was in a music video. I’m not really concerned about it. … I don’t hang with drug dealers. I surround myself with good people.”

Melo’s appearance in the ’04 video has fueled recent anti-Obama talks.

The Weekly Standard published a blog post on Wednesday titled “Obama Fundraises with Maker of Pro-Drugs ‘Stop Snitchin’ Video.” The Washington Free Beacon expressed similar thoughts two weeks prior in a piece called “Stop Snitchin’, Start Donatin’.

I guess we can never underestimate the ability of people to dig up old dirt. That video was made eight years ago when Melo was 20 years old. I’m guessing he’d like to take it back. And even though he’s not exactly the most likable fellow in the sports world, he has worked hard to repair his image and stay out of trouble.

I was extraordinarily harsh on Melo in 2007 for his appearance in the video, but five years later even I’ve moved on. Maybe it’s time for everyone else to unless he gives us a reason to bring it back.

You can see a clip of the Stop Snitching video below, but be warned: it contains offensive content and language:

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U.S. upset over Argentina’s nut shot on Carmelo Anthony (Picture)

On paper, it appeared that the US men’s basketball team’s 126-97 win over Argentina in the final game before the knockout stage was a breeze. In many ways it was, but for Carmelo Anthony it was a bit more painful. As you can see from the screenshot above, Anthony took a shot to the groin as he was attempting a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter.

The three went in, but as the video at Eye on Basketball shows it certainly appeared that Argentina’s Facundo Campazzo threw an unneccesary below-the-belt shot as the buzzer sounded.

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Carmelo Anthony: Linsanity prompted the ‘selfish’ accusations

Carmelo Anthony is really hung-up on Jeremy Lin. The Knicks forward has been playing extremely well for Team USA at the Olympics, and that’s caused many people to reevaluate their opinion of him.

Coach K doesn’t understand why Melo gets a bad rap, but Anthony thinks he knows where it all started.

“Let’s be frank about it,” he said in an interview with USA Today. “When it comes to the Knicks, we’re talking about one particular point in time. We’re talking about the whole ‘Linsanity’ thing. That’s when it started. That’s when it started to escalate as far as people saying I was selfish.”

Although I believe Melo got an unfair share of the blame for the Knicks’ struggles upon his trade to New York, he’s flat-out wrong about his comments.

Melo has been considered somewhat of a ballhog since his first years in the NBA with the Nuggets. He’s always been an elite scorer, and he helped take Denver to the Western Conference Finals, but it’s well known that he takes a lot of shots and that ball movement often stops with him.

Things really were magnified after he was traded to the Knicks and the team began struggling. He simply was a bad fit for coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense, and that’s why the selfish accusations began. It didn’t start with Jeremy Lin, it only continued during Linsanity.

Regardless of what Melo may say about his relationship with Lin, it’s clear he has what Matt Moore at Pro Basketball Talk termed a “persecution complex” about the point guard.

H/T I am a GM