The evidence proves otherwise, but as Anthony continually has shown, the facts never get in the way of a story that deflects blame from him. In speaking with reporters last weekend, Anthony once again seemed to assume that the world needed to take him at his word, as though no record exists of what people said about Anthony pre-Linsanity.
"Let's be frank about it," Anthony told USA Today in London, where the totally not selfish Knicks forward is playing in the Olympics with the U.S. men's basketball team. "When it comes to the Knicks, 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."
If only there was some tool that allowed us to search a worldwide information archive, in which we could throw some words into a box, adjust a few settings and, Voila!, prove or disprove Anthony's contention.
We could call it Boogle. Or Doogle. Or maybe Bing? Nah, then nobody would use it.
Kidding aside, it does not take Politifact to determine that Anthony's version of the origin of his "selfish" reputation is a bunch of hooey. As far back as Anthony's third season, coach George Karl was quoted as agonizing over ways to get the volume scorer to show a similar dedication to rebounding and defense. Between June 26, 2003, (the day Anthony was drafted by the Denver Nuggets) and Feb. 3, 2012, (the day before Lin scored 25 points against the New Jersey Nets and Linsanity was unofficially born), there are 32,700 results on Google for the terms "carmelo anthony" and "selfish." One link, published a week before the Nuggets traded Anthony to New York, includes this sentence: "Anybody who thinks Kobe Bryant is a selfish player has never watched Carmelo Anthony play."
While the selfish label has followed Anthony for much of his career, Anthony has been consistently inconsistent about his support and/or disdain for Lin. Criticism of Anthony indeed ramped up during the eight weeks Lin energized the Knicks, but it is not true that "anything that happens in New York, they blame [Anthony]," as he attested in an earlier interview. Amare Stoudemire was a reliable target for harsh words as well, but Anthony was the martyr in his own mind. After calling the $25 million offer Lin received from the Houston Rockets "ridiculous," Anthony attempted to clarify that he has always been a fan of Lin's — while claiming that his own humility was to blame for his being critical of a former teammate.
"Believe it or not, I've been one of the true supporters of Jeremy Lin," Anthony was quoted as saying in July. "It's not something I brag about or broadcast, but I've been one of his supporters along the way. After he signed with Houston, I talked to him. He texted me. I'll keep that disclosed what we talked about, but it was a great text. What he sent me really meant a lot."
That should clear things up. Speaking of which, there is something precious about people who preface statements with phrases like "Let's be frank about it" and "Believe it or not" before proceeding to feed you a line that is neither frank nor believable.
There is the truth, and then there is the truth according to 'Melo.