As Carmelo Anthony and the Thunder knocked off the Knicks, TV cameras showed a shot at the scorers table of Anthony embracing Kristaps Porzingis. The two briefly spoke and then went to their respective locker rooms. One thing that’s been made clear is that Anthony wants to see his former teammate succeed.
Porzingis is on his own now and that means he has take on a lot more responsibility for the team as a whole. That comes with new pressures and expectations. Anthony gave him a little bit of advice on how to approach being the face of a franchise who receives all the credit and blame.
Carmelo Anthony tried to groom Kristaps Porzingis the past two years, knowing that he someday would replace him as the Knicks’ franchise player. Now that he has, Anthony called it “a big, big year” for Porzingis and had some advice.
“You’re there. You’re the unicorn. You’ve got to embrace it,” Anthony said. “You’ve got to understand what it’s about, what’s going to happen, whether good or bad, and be ready for it.”
“We shall see,” Anthony said. “This is a big, big year for him. Even last year and the year before, he had pieces, a couple pieces around that can kind of shelter him a little bit. Even when things weren’t going good for him, I would always take the blame and take the pressure off of him. Now he almost is, I don’t want to say forced to take on that role, but it’s there. He has to take on that role. He has to embrace that role. He has to be ready for what’s in front of him.”
Anthony knows better than anybody about the pressures being the face of New York brings. For just as much praise he’s received over the years he’s also had plenty of criticism thrown his way. Much of it was warranted while other criticisms seemed overly harsh. That’s the type of environment stars have to deal with, and it’s something that Porzingis will find out about.
Porzingis is having this new role thrust upon him, and while it will always be hard, he at least has a former superstar in Anthony to gain advice from. That’s a valuable resource as he grows into his new role with New York.