Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Melo Has a Laugh at Tyson’s Expense, Says Ravens Inspired Him
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony stood laughing in the entryway to the Knicks locker room, enjoying a good chuckle at Tyson Chandler’s expense.
On a night when he should have been celebrating his franchise-tying third straight 20-rebound game, Chandler had to suck it up and wear a Ravens cap in his post-game interview.
Seems Anthony, a Baltimore native and Ravens fan, bet Chandler, a California native and 49ers fan, on the outcome of the Super Bowl.
The Ravens cap was awaiting Chandler at his locker and he couldn’t believe how fast Anthony had acquired it.
“How did he get it so quick?” Chandler asked incredulously.
Chandler then sheepishly slipped the hat on and stood in between two stickers of the Lombardi trophy affixed to his and Anthony’s lockers during his interview.
“It’s a bad bet, bad bet, it hurts,” Chandler yelled across the locker room to Anthony after he put up 20 rebounds and eight points as the Knicks won their fifth straight, 99-85, over the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden.
Later, when Anthony addressed the media following his 27-point, 7-rebound night, he was all smiles.
“Oh, that made my day,” Anthony said. “That made my day. You just don’t know, it made my day.”
Had San Francisco won, Chandler said he would’ve made Anthony wear a Niners’ helmet instead of a cap.
“It was a good day for him,” Anthony said. “It was just coincidence that he had three games with 20 rebounds. That picture will be everywhere.”
Yes, it will.
Chandler tied a record, last set by Willis Reed in 1969.
Head coach Mike Woodson said he recently spoke privately with Chandler, and encouraged him to play more like the All-Star that he is.
“Throughout the season, mentally, he lit a fire under me,” Chandler said. “He called me into his office and said I needed to start playing like an All-Star and the last thing I wanted was people questioning that. I had focus after that. Sometimes you need that…a little push.”
Said Anthony of Chandler’s accomplishment: “That’s incredible, that’s very hard to do. Three straight games with 20-plus rebounds. It hasn’t been done since 1969-70, so it’s very hard to do. We gotta take your hat off to Tyson for the effort.”
For his part, Anthony returned to form with a 27-point effort, but mostly he was enjoying Chandler’s punishment.
Anthony also said he was “inspired” by watching Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco and the Ravens win their second Super Bowl Sunday night.
“I’m sitting down and just thinking about it and reflecting about it, it’s gotta be a great feeling,” Anthony said.
“I’ve been in situations like that before, but on this level it’s gotta be a great feeling. Yeah, it’s definitely inspiring.”
Chandler and Anthony will represent the Knicks at the upcoming All-Star Game in Houston, even if Woodson just missed out on coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars.
“It would’ve been great if I got to take my staff and I to Houston,” Woodson said. “I still have a house there, so it would’ve been nice. But it didn’t work out that way, so I gotta go to Plan B.”
Still, he believes the Knicks (31-15) are in position to challenge the Heat (31-14) for the top seed in the East as the second half heats up.
“We have a big goal,” Woodson said. “Big picture is to win an NBA title. That is first and foremost. One of our goals is to win our division and host first round at home. We are on pace to do that. We have to stay the course.”
And on this night, that meant Anthony smiling while Chandler sucked it up and wore a Ravens cap.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.