John Jastremski and Brian Jones have been filling in for the first half of the usual Moose & Maggie slot on WFAN this week, and it’s been a basketball-heavy two hours much of the week.
On Thursday, two days after ‘Melo dropped a double-double in the bubble for Portland, JJ and BJ spent some time giving the former Knick his dap.
“Man, I’m happy to see ‘Melo playing well. A year ago at this time, he couldn’t find a job, and it was crazy someone with the career resume of Carmelo Anthony was on the unemployment line, begging teams to bring him in,” Jastremski said. “Normally ‘Melo would have a job in two seconds, but a lot of people wondered if he could transition from being ‘the guy’ to playing 15 minutes a night.”
Carmelo, long seen as a me-first player, has definitely faced some NBA hardship since his Knicks career came to an ignominious end, but perhaps, in the minds of JJ and BJ, that hardship has only made him a better – or perhaps a more mellow – ‘Melo.
“Maybe you have to be humbled; some guys in that role, at first they don’t want to do it because it’s out of their comfort zone, it’s not what they’ve done, and they don’t buy in right away,” Jastremski said. “Maybe ‘Melo had to be humbled, had to sit out and wait for a chance. I don’t know if he shines the way he has in Portland if he didn’t get embarrassed the way he did.”
“One way to ensure you humble yourself is when you go to the mailbox and see there’s no check in there; those NBA checks have a lot of zeroes,” Jones added. “We said (Wednesday) that Carmelo has reflected on his career and come to terms with where he is now, and he has embraced that.”
In saying that, Jones, who played linebacker in the NFL in the 1990s, understands one thing that perhaps Anthony also now does, too: Father Time is undefeated, but there are ways to keep that clock ticking longer than it might want to.
“You have to humble yourself, especially when you get to the end of this thing, and your body determines what you can and can’t do,” Jones said. “That’s the hardest thing for your ego, when you’re accustomed to doing things effortlessly, that now take a little extra.”
Perhaps, the Double-J’s noted, ‘Melo’s new attitude could be traced back to the last time he was a champion, namely his three Olympic Gold Medals.
“I knew that if he could buy in the way he bought in for the Olympics – he was that corner three guy and he killed it,” JJ said. “I knew that if he could mentally get over the fact that he’s no longer the guy, he could be an asset for someone. It took a couple chances, a couple failed chances, but he did it.”
“Yeah, he could say, ‘I took a backseat to some of those guys, but I still got mine – we all did our thing. I’m going to do that in this newfound Carmelo Anthony, occupy whichever role they ask of me, and do it 100 percent,’” Jones added. “When you embrace it in that manner, and go about your business not worrying about what you used to do, that’s when you can find some success.”
You can listen to the entire exchange above, and tune in Friday from 10 a.m. to noon for the final JJ and BJ Show of the week!