Carmelo Loses His Cool, and Maybe it’s OK

Brian DiMenna

There’s been much ink spilled — haha, remember ink, and why is it always getting spilled, keep it somewhere safe — about the now much-dissected battle royale between Carmelo and Boston’s Kevin Garnett during the Knicks’ fairly infuriating loss to the loathsome Celtics. Much of it correct, though some of it overwrought, particularly this gem from the Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence:

They can’t have their top player, a legitimate candidate for the MVP this season, come mentally unglued when someone makes disparaging comments about his reportedly estranged wife. Or his mama. Or whoever

If that kind of B.S. can throw Anthony off his game and make the Knicks an easy mark, then they’re never going to get out of the first round again. Not as long as he is their top player.

Yeesh.

But the point stands. I totally understand the idea that Anthony can’t let this type of thing affect him on the court, that losing a winnable game because KG said some stuff isn’t completely acceptable. It’s one thing to let your anger motivate you, it’s another to let it take you out of the game and cost your team a win. I would say it’s worth remembering that these athletes are human beings, that some time emotion gets in the way of your best judgement, and sometimes we do things even as we know that we shouldn’t. Melo let his frustration affect his play, it happens.

And yet, and I guess I’m sorry for saying this, I loved it. I loved every minute of it. It made me like Carmelo Anthony even MORE. I enjoyed watching him barking at Garnett, I’ve watched it something like a dozen times and it never fails to make me happy.

Naturally, this being New York, the story had to veer into the absurd, where it landed with rumors of Lala and Cheerios — Honey Nut, I believe. But while the rational part of my brain knows this wasn’t a good thing, knows the Knicks can’t continue to let emotions cost them games, the monkey/reptilian region of my frontal cortex was just all, “Oooh, fighting! GET ‘EM!”

And I don’t know, maybe it was faux-toughness, but I thought Melo showed toughness. I liked the attitude, liked seeing him get right in Garnett’s mug and even liked seeing him waiting outside the Boston bus just to say, “Hey dude, what was THAT all about?”

Now, I’m not advocating this as a long-term strategy, or saying it’s the type of thing I hope to keep seeing, I’m just saying for one night I really liked it, and found myself frantically checking the schedule to see when that next Boston game might be. Yeah, sports are about winning and losing, but there’s an entertainment element to it too.

So tell me, are you not entertained?

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