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Carmelo Anthony Is...The Variable

Got an email today from reader Mike M. who rightfully wondered why I've been so silent on the former SU megastar Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.  I guess it all comes back to my dirty little secret.

I don't care about the NBA.  Sorry.  Said it.  It's out there.  Nothing I can do about it now.

It's true.  Try as I might I just can't get into it.  As a kid I was a Laker fan (from NJ...ugh).  I mean, what did you expect, you wanted to root for the Nets in the late 80's/early 90's?  But at some point around the late 90's I stopped caring about the Lakers and realized I didn't much care about the league at all.  Watching those games felt like an exercise is causality.  One team will take lead, invariably the other will make a run, the first team will match it and nothing before the last five minutes of the game seem to matter.  I know, I'm generalizing, but that's how it felt.  Just can't get into it.  The idea of watching a regular season NBA game has about as much appeal to me as watching Eric Devendorf get his next tattoo.

All of that said, I'm openly rooting for Carmelo and the Nuggets for three reasons.

#1 - It's Carmelo.  Dude has my lifetime allegiance and loyalty.  He could orchestrate a genocidal killing spree and I'd still back him.  And given his recent track record, that's not out of the question.

#2 -The chances of it happening are next to zero but I would LOVE to watch all the Laker fans out here crumble under not making it to the Finals.  Where will all the Laker car flags that popped up out of nowhere in the last month go?  Is there a Laker car flag graveyard I can visit and leave little Laker flags on the graves of Laker flags? I hope to find out.

#3 - The chance to see Carmelo attain his rightful place.  Look, the NBA will not allow anyone but the Lakers and Cavs to make the Finals at this point (especially if their respective series go 7 games), but how awesome would it be for the Nuggets to make it, especially against the Cavs?  And doing so by beating Kobe's Lakers? 

I know the league and the populous want LA-Cleveland, Kobe vs. LeBron, but I'm rooting for Carmelo vs. it was always supposed to be. 

Remember, LeBron and Carmelo were pitted against each other in the 2003 draft.  For a brief while, it was trendy to say Anthony should be taken over James.  Of course, we know that James is the superior player, but that doesn't mean Carmelo can't be the superstar he was destined to be as well.  The last couple years it's felt like Carmelo had been replaced by Dwayne Wade and he was forever destined to be the outsider of that draft class.  The pretty-good player who never measured up.

So now, what would it mean if Carmelo could lead the Nuggets to an NBA title over the Cleveland LeBrons?  Vindication.  Absolution.  And a s**tload of bragging rights. 

Finally, I have a reason to get excited about the NBA.  Go Nugs.