Mark Knudson’s 3 Strikes Blog – Strike 1 (2/11/19)

Mark Knudson’s Three Strikes Blog: Strike One

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Knowing when to hang ‘em up is an acquired skill

STRIKE ONE: Everyone – including Carmelo Anthony – would be better off if he would just retire already. Geez.

Let’s look at the stat sheet: Carmelo is a 10-time NBA All-Star, four-time Olympian with three gold medals, former NBA scoring champion and NCAA champion. Despite the fact that he’s never been selected first-team All-NBA or ever won an NBA title, he’s considered by most to be a sure fire, slam dunk Basketball Hall of Famer. Some of us around here might not agree (I certainly do not. Carmelo’s been a ball-stopper, me-first scorer who doesn’t play defense or rebound anywhere close to the level he could have. What team has he ever elevated? But what do I know.) Consider that the Basketball Hall inducted Dikembe Mutumbo…the bar for inclusion isn’t all that high. (Mutumbo is a HoF philanthropist, but a HoF player? No freakin’ way folks…)

Carmelo was drafted and had his best years as a Denver Nugget, even if the parting in 2011 wasn’t amicable. He went to the New York Knicks where his gold digger/wannabe celebrity wife wanted to live, and his career flat lined. In 2017, while the Knicks were continuing to suck, they finally traded him to Oklahoma City. That didn’t go great either, so he ended up being traded to Atlanta who traded him to Houston who traded him to Chicago who released him. That’s a lot of movement in the past two years. There’s a message in there somewhere…

Now there’s talk that LeBron James wants Carmelo to sign with the Lakers. LMAO.

Why can so many astute observers – other than Carmelo and his followers – see that his ability to contribute meaningful minutes to ANY professional basketball team is gone? It’s over. Done.

It’s. Time. To. Hang. ‘em. Up. Melo.

Sports history is full of great players who didn’t know when to say when. Many a great has tried to hang on for one last shot at glory, only to tarnish their proud legacy. Johnny Unitas wearing Chargers gear. Joe Namath toiling as a LA Ram. The shell of Steve Carlton being left off the Minnesota Twins post season roster. Martin Brodeur playing his final seven games with St. Louis. Jerry Rice being cut by the Broncos. The list goes on and on, unfortunately.

Add Carmelo to that list. Anthony would undoubtedly like to go out the way John Elway did: On top, championship in hand. It’s storybook. But it’s very rare. Same goes for the Ray Bourque ending. Very few are lucky enough to get traded in the final stages of their careers and end up winning a title to reach that happy ending.

What ‘Melo should have done is follow a path like the one baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver took. Seaver’s best years (and World Series appearances) were behind him and the end was near when the Mets invited him to spring training in 1987. He accepted the invite on the condition that if HE didn’t feel like he could perform to HIS expected level, he’d walk away before the season began. Turned out he couldn’t…and he did, legacy and dignity intact.

That’s the way to do it.

Hanging on for one last shot of glory, or one last paycheck? Does he need the money? Or, perhaps Carmelo is watching the way his pal Dwayne Wade is finishing his career in Miami (where he’s been a key part in three NBA titles) and wishing he could at least get a nice send off?

Funny this is, had Carmelo simply embraced the love and the adoration he got from Nuggets fans during his peak years he, and decided to stick it out here (playing for a contender) in this dusty ‘ol cowtown…instead of listening to his now ex-wife’s nonsense, he could of gotten that kind of send off right here in the Mile High.

We’ll never really know because he didn’t…and we couldn’t.

Strike Two coming Wednesday: What’s up with the NCAA’s wishy washy transfer rule? Reach me on Twitter @MarkKnudson41…