Fans are obsessed with counting championship rings. Above all other accomplishments, it seems to dictate the terms around which any player or team is evaluated. A common target of ring-counting above all else? Former Syracuse Orange star (and current member of the New York Knicks) Carmelo Anthony.
Would Carmelo Anthony be okay with winning three Olympic gold medals, but no NBA championships?
The question was asked by ESPN in Rio, and was written about in a piece by Marc Stein.
Why is the question necessary? Because, as stated above, fans are obsessed in judging players solely by the number of (NBA) championships they have. ESPN and Stein, in turn, have an obligation to get comments from players that fans find interesting.
Despite the question lacking much merit or substance, Anthony was still willing to answer the question himself. And did so about as professionally as one can:
“Most athletes don’t have an opportunity to say they won a gold medal, better yet three gold medals. I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won (a championship at Syracuse) in college and possible three gold medals.”
“I can look back on it when my career is over — if I don’t have an NBA championship ring — and say I had a great career.”
It’s remarkable questions like this continue to get asked, and it’s even more remarkable that it is such a huge critique of Carmelo. Had he been the best player on teams that were absolutely terrible for every year of his career, him never winning is an understandable argument. But having won championships at both the collegiate and international level, the arguments against him are rather weak. If Carmelo went and joined a perennial powerhouse contender and won a championship, do the criticisms go away? Or does the critique shift to him not being “the guy” on said NBA championship team?
Regardless of opinion on him, Anthony is currently leading a team that consists of some of the best basketball players in the world. To question his capability of winning or succeeding at the game of basketball based solely on his teams’ accomplishments in the NBA appears silly when looking at his full resume. Or when considering the various other greats — Karl Malone, Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley and countless more — that never won an NBA championship but are still held in high esteem, the critiques fail to hold water even more so.
NBA championship or not, Anthony’s career will be remembered well when it’s all said and done. A prolific scorer, Olympic champion and lifelong legend in Syracuse, N.Y., that still sounds like as good a resume as any.