At 5:22 p.m. tonight, Carmelo Anthony was introduced to fans as a New York Knick for the first time. The former-Denver Nugget stood alongside another former-Nugget, and new Knicks point guard, Chauncey Billups at a press conference at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony and Billups wore Knick warm up sweats and were introduced by Knicks owner James Dolan, who reiterated his statement that he, Knicks' head coach Mike D'Antoni and Knicks' president Donnie Walsh all worked in unison to land the 26 year-old superstar.
Last week Dolan, miffed by reports of Thomas' involvement in the dealing, said,"I'm assuming Isiah is getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. That's what I'm assuming."
The low-key press conference was slowed by a group photo-op with Anthony, Billups, Dolan, D'Antoni and Walsh before it was crashed by Knicks' star player Amar'e Stoudemire.
The Knicks own version of the Big 3 stood together in public as New York Knicks for the first time as Stoudemire smiled for photos alongside Anthony and Billups.
It's Legends Night at the Garden tonight, but most eyes will be on the new #7 as Anthony makes his debut. Tickets are going for up to five times face value.
Anthony said he was happy to be back home. "New York needed a moment like this," he said. "New York basketball is back."
The former Red Hook schoolboy continued by saying, "At the end of the day I'm going in the right direction." It's a dream come true and I'm ready to rock."
"This was about sitting down with my family and deciding New York was the place to bring my talent," he said.
Dolan said Walsh did a good job of making the trade with the Nuggets and made it sound like his job as president was secure. "We wanted to wait until the trade deadline before talking about his [Walsh] contract which ends in JUNE!" Emphasis on June was Dolan's.
Tonight, the new Knicks' Big 3 heads onto the Garden floor for the first time as teammates in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
There have been too few big moments at Madison Square Garden in recent years. First, it was Stoudemire, now comes 'Melo.
For once, it's one big happy family at the corner of 33rd and Seventh Avenue.