A crazy NBA summer promised there would be plenty of interesting reunions to watch out for this season. Near the top of that list? Carmelo Anthony’s return to the Big Apple.
Anthony’s highly anticipated homecoming went down Saturday night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder visited New York in Anthony’s first game at Madison Square Garden since the Knicks traded him to OKC in September.
The New York native’s legacy with the Knicks is complicated: He found great individual success, making the All-Star team during each of his seven seasons in New York, but never was able to take them to the next level, as the Knicks advanced past the first round of the playoffs just once while he was there.
So, how did the fickle MSG faithful greet him? With a mixed reaction, of course.
The arena did its part, playing a lengthy tribute video to honor Anthony. The montage drew many expected cheers, but you definitely can make out some boos mixed in.
That mixture of boos and cheers continued once the game started — as in, virtually every time the 33-year-old touched the ball during the Knicks’ eventual 111-96 win.
Anthony is well aware of his polarizing legacy in New York, though, and was prepared for any reaction.
“They can’t cheer for me. I’m on another team,” Anthony said, via ESPN.com, after scoring just 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting. “They’re cheering for their team. They boo for the other team. That’s something that I expected.”
Then again, Anthony might not have been expecting this…
That’s Carmelo’s estranged wife, La La Anthony, who currently is split from the NBA star but still was in the front row for his return to the Garden.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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