Saturday, November 3, 2012

'Melo Anthony gives NYC fans a pep talk before Knicks beat Heat

A sports team's season debut should never be this dramatic.  And for the New York Knicks, this wasn't even supposed to be their 2012 season opener and it almost wasn't — again.

Friday night's Knicks game against the Miami Heat became the first major sporting event in New York since superstorm Sandy hit the area on Monday.

The Knicks already had their first game of 2012 against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center postponed Thursday because of Sandy and there was still debate whether or not Friday's game should have been played either. At game time, there were still millions of people in the area still without power, water or gas.

The Knicks knew of the controversy and its star player ''Melo Anthony' — as he was called by the announcer — hoped the team could provide some sort of brief distraction from the destruction outside the refurbished Madison Square Garden by going on with the game.

'Melo — backed by his teammates — put the controversy on his shoulders, stepped out to center court before the tip-off and gave the near-capacity crowd a heartfelt pre-game speech that was short and sweet, but got a message across.

In his unscripted pep talk, Anthony told the fans thank you as they roared with appreciation, and later gave them something to cheer about after the Knicks routed the Heat, 104-84.

Call it a 'Melo-drama.


"Thank you for coming out in hard times and supporting the New York Knicks.  This is the most important time for the City of New York to come together and help rebuild this city back up."

After leading the Knicks to the resounding win, Anthony (30 points, 10 rebounds) said he wanted to let the fans know, in person,  that the Knicks players care about their plight.

"It was something I wanted to do," Anthony said.  "They rarely hear from us about how we feel in situations like this.  It was only right, me being one of the leaders on this team, to step up and give the fans some words."

Anthony's "words" went a long way in suggesting to stricken residents — still trying to pick themselves up after the storm — that the path to recovery starts with getting back to normal routines.

Maybe an NBA game won't bring lights or water to the residents still pleading for help, but it is a sign that things will return to the way they were.

Pretty inspiring all around.

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