Carmelo Anthony is finally, tragically no longer a member of the New York Knicks. After joining the Knickerbockers back in February of 2011, Melo’s tenure with the team has seen its ups–54 wins in 2013, a bunch of All-Star games, dropping 62 in the Garden–and downs–pretty much everything else. He’s now off to the Midwest as a member of the re-tooled and possibly dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder, but he leaves behind a legacy of NYC love and NYK hate.
Despite icing out Jeremy Lin, possibly taking touches from Kristaps Porzingis, and generally being all things Me7o, Knicks fan will likely remember him fondly, and a big part of that comes from his unabashed love for the Big Apple. Melo was New York’s own; born in Red Hook to a Black Puerto Rican father who had been a member of the Young Lords and an African-American woman, he was raised until the age of eight in the borough before his family moved to Baltimore. Before leaving, however, and especially since returning, Melo has always claimed that NYC was one of his homes.
And so, on the eve of his departure, the Knicks’ ex-#7 dropped a love letter to NYC, first on his Instagram and then on his own website. In it, Melo waxes poetic about the hardships he overcame while there, and about the lessons he learned while in the five boroughs. In honor of his 7-season tenure and his love for all things 7, we grabbed the 7 most poetic quotes from his goodbye note. 7eace be with you as well, Me7o.
1. P.O.M.E (Product Of My Environment)
“I learned how to survive, I learned the sense of community, I learned about responsibility, as well as becoming a P.O.M.E (Product Of My Environment)”
The Banana Boat squad has a way of turning everything into unnecessary-yet-endearing acronyms; who can forget Dwyane Wade’s attempt to get everyone to call him W.O.W. (Way of Wade).
2. Art of War
“Then I had to depart again to go on this long journey where my ART OF WAR skills would be tested.”
Athletes as a whole generally connect sporting contests to the ideas of war and battle; it’s an easy way to build unity if you see everyone else as the enemy. However, Melo appears to be doing more than that here; he’s saying that life is war, and he’s only surviving because of how NYC taught him to live.
3. Tears and Fears
“You dried my tears. Because of you, I have no fears.”
Melo must have been listening to Evanescence’s “My Immortal” while writing this letter, and that’s dope in and of itself. Despite all the drama with the Knicks, and with Phil Jackson, Melo’s love of NYC always shone through. It’s his home away from home, and it’s likely the reason he pushed for the 2011 trade that brought him to New York just months before he could have come on his own volition as a free agent; the wait would have been too long.
4. B (Be) Born Again
“I came to NYC to B (Be) Born again.”
While the sentiment here is simple and understandable, why does Melo do the “B (Be)” thing? Maybe it’s a reference to the breakdancing b-boys of the 1970s? Or maybe he just really wants people to know that his real second life began in New York City back in 2011. Either way, the idea behind his rebirth puts his move away from NYC in a sadder light than before; he’s not escaping an extremely dysfunctional franchise, but rather, he’s leaving a city he truly loves.
“It taught me how to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.”
Of all of the poetry found in Melo’s letter, this is the most relatable. In a year that has pushed everyone past the brink of sanity and into a weird fugue state of discomfort. To find peace (or 7eace, as Me70 puts it later on) in that tension is something that should be valued and praised. You go, Melo.
6. BOOK of WONDERMENTS
“And in my BOOK of WONDERMENTS, you will never be just another page.”
I know for a fact that if Melo sold his BOOK of WONDERMENTS for real, it would be a New York Times Best-Seller. Does the Banana Boat get a full chapter of WONDERMENTS? Considering how tight Melo, Wade, Chris Paul, and LeBron James appear to be on and off the court, they might get a whole section of the book. Less likely to feature in the pages? Phil Jackson, Mike D’Antoni, and Jeremy Lin.
“7eace be with you.”
At some point, Melo realized that he could be Me7o, ignoring the fact that the “7” has typically been used to replace the letter “T.” Me-seven-o is enough of a stretch, but to end his loving letter to the city he appears to be most connected to with a “7eace be with you” is next-level. #7 in your programs, #1 in your hearts, but also #7 in his mind, Melo was an odd superstar for the Knicks, one who was comfortable chucking up his shots and losing games by the bunches. He also embedded himself in the community, took the role of King of NYC alongside La La, his queen, and he leaves in order to let the next era of Knicks basketball start in earnest…and also to chase championships as a second or third option. It’s a very Me7o ending to his NYC story, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.