The basketball world converges on America’s biggest stage next week for NBA All-Star festivities. As de-facto ambassador of the weekend and firmly entrenched as face of the fledgling New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony is looking forward to the proceedings – as much from an entertainment standpoint as a recruiting one.
Here’s a playful Anthony via ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
“That was kind of the talk of All-Star weekend last year,” Anthony said when asked if players were asking him what he was going to do at last year’s All-Star Game with his free agency coming up. “I’ve had that experience maybe twice now, last year and then the [All-Star game] in L.A. a couple of years back right before I got [traded] to New York.
“Now it’s my turn!” Anthony playfully said with a smile. “Now it’s my turn to extend the favor.”
While Carmelo’s tone was one of jest, you can bet that Phil Jackson and company think it a boon that their city is location of All-Star just months before the Knicks have hordes of cap room. Despite the team’s struggles in 2014-2015, allure of the Big Apple is unceasing – and legendary Madison Square Garden will look better than ever come Sunday night.
Anthony certainly understands sway of the New York City scene, and is counting on it as a way to indirectly pitch prospective free agents:
“I think everybody will be on their own kind of zone on All-Star weekend,” Anthony said about whether a weekend in New York City can become a recruiting tool. “The real effect that they will feel will be during the game here at the Garden, kind of seeing what the Garden has to offer, not just for New York Knicks but for [big events overall].
“And that is a big moment — that Sunday in the All-Star Game,” Anthony continued. “So the Garden will be lit up, it will be bright. There will be a lot of people in there. It will be loud and it will be exciting. So for other players to see that, I am pretty sure that will be impressive.”
But will it be impressive enough to sell Marc Gasol and other rumored targets amid the Knicks’ futile season? That’s a question for the players, and one we doubt will drift much, if at all, through their sub-consciences come the hubbub of All-Star Weeknd.
But a harmless poke or two from Anthony would surely get them thinking at the very least. And in the bright lights of the big city, perhaps that could be all it takes.
What do you think?
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