In the hours leading up to last night’s monumental homecoming of Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Tierney and Jodie Mack of ESPN 1050 radio began a great debate: who would be announced last during introductions? The general consensus seemed to be that Melo’ would get last call last night and Amar’e would get the last word for the rest of the season. I agreed, that was more-than-fair. Amar’e started this era and he should be forever acknowledged for doing so. Nonetheless, having come to expect so little of the Dolan-run franchise, I had to expect less. Needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised.
For those who didn’t watch, the way it went down was pure beauty. As the arena went dark, the only tolerable part of Diddy’s new song, “I’m Coming Home,” the chorus that belts….”I’m comin’ home,” penetrated the garden as the crowd burst into a roar. Simultaneously, the big screen (what the f*ck is that thing called?? The Megatron or something??) showed quotes from Carmelo about being born in Brooklyn and the like, ending with, “All we really knew was basketball.” And at that very moment, the first man appeared out of the tunnel, as legendary Knicks PA man Mike Walczewski announced, “Carmeloooooooooooooooo Anthony.” Melo and Chauncey came out first and second, each got their due, and then the rest of the starters followed with Amar’e the last man to be announced. And at that moment it hit me: New York basketball is truly back and my franchise has come to its senses all in one day.
The last time the Knicks – as an organization, not just a team – showed class on this scale was when the great Patrick Ewing stood, as he described it later that night, “on an island all by (him) self” in a green and crimson Seattle Supersonics uniform more than ten years ago. Since that night, there has not been a moment that even remotely resembled nights like last night and Patty’s return. Not when Steph came back. Not when we made our lone playoff run where Tim Thomas famously called Kenyon Martin “fugazi,” not even opening night this season. So for the first day in ten years, let us all as fans allow ourselves be filled with nothing but positive vibes and pure joy.
The only thing that could potentially cloud this glorious moment is the return of one Isiah Thomas, but I’ll put that out of my mind for one day. For today and maybe today only, I find myself a fan of one hell of a franchise.
-by Jamie Fedorko