Carmelo Anthony likely will get booed, and booed a lot, in his return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
The 10-time All-Star had a messy breakup with his previous team, the New York Knicks, and Friday he will play in his first game at MSG since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And given it doesn’t usually take much for Knicks fans too boo vociferously, Anthony probably won’t be met with pleasant cheers.
But the current star of the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis, thinks he should instead be met with love.
Porzingis certainly is in the minority with that line of thinking, but when asked Thursday about Melo’s return to New York, the 22-year-old tried to quiet the jeers before they even began.
“I think he was as professional as he can be in his time here in New York, so I don’t see why they would not receive him with love,” Porzingis said.
There are arguments to be had on both sides. Anthony played seven seasons with the Knicks and was an All-Star in all but his final year, and was often regarded by Porzingis as a great teammate and mentor. However, after numerous conflicts with then-team president Phil Jackson during the 2017 offseason, Anthony boisterously demanded out, ultimately getting traded to OKC.
So while the message from Porzingis is thoughtful, very little likely could quell the reception Melo is bound to get Saturday.