In an interview with ESPN’s Marc Stein, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony indicated that if his professional basketball career were to end without him winning an NBA championship, he’d still consider it a success if he walked away with three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA title. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals,” Anthony said.
Anthony has long been a polarizing player among fans, thanks to his gaudy statistics and lack of playoff success over the course of his career. The tale of the tape on the forward’s NBA career thus far is: In 902 career regular season games Anthony has averaged 24.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists to accompany a shooting line of .453/.344/.812. He’s a nine-time NBA All-Star, has won an NBA scoring title (2013) and is one of the more versatile players the league has ever seen on the offensive side of the game. But…he’s only made it out of the first round of the playoffs twice in his 13-year career.
The player whose career I’ve often compared Anthony’s to is former Hawks great, Dominique Wilkins. While Melo’s game is certainly different from the “Human Highlight Film’s,” Wilkins is a prime example of a star whose statistics never translated into an NBA title. To further illustrate my point, take a gander at Wilkins’ career numbers, which are eerily similar to Anthony’s. In 1074 career regular season contests, Wilkins notched averages of 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists to go along with his shooting line of .461/.319/.811. Wilkins enjoyed a bit more playoff success, advancing past the first round on four occasions during his time in Atlanta, but never past the second round.
I reference Wilkins because despite never having won an NBA title, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and is generally regarded as one of the greats of the game, though not in the same conversation as Jordan, Bird, Magic, etc. Unless the Knicks strike gold in the near future, it appears that Anthony is also destined to end his career with an impressive stat line, but no ring to silence his detractors.
This brings to today’s topic, which is a two-parter: What will Carmelo Anthony‘s NBA legacy be if he fails to win a title during his career? And if he indeed fails to lead a team to a championship, is he worthy of being inducted into the Hall Of Fame?
Take to the comments section to share your thoughts on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.