PORTLAND, Ore. — It isn’t just about losing games. Carmelo Anthony also is losing in the court of public opinion, even with some of his brethren, and he said it “irks” him.
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TNT analyst Charles Barkley said during Thursday night’s Knicks-Kings telecast that Anthony has “got to be a better leader.”
Anthony didn’t know how to respond to that. Surprisingly, he said he has never met Barkley and added that he’s tired of trying to live up to what everyone thinks he should be.
“I don’t know how to be a better leader than what I’m doing,” Anthony said Saturday before the Knicks faced the Trail Blazers in the finale of this three-game road trip. “I don’t know what that means.”
Anthony was asked specifically about LeBron James, who is very demonstrative and gets in his teammates’ faces.
“I can’t do that,” Anthony said. “I won’t ever feel right like cursing my teammates out here on the bench or on the court. That’s not who I am. Me and my teammates, we have conversations. We have players-only meetings. I speak up and I’m heard. The problem is everybody’s always trying to compare you to the next person, to the next man. That’s what kind of irks me, gets on my nerves more than anything.
“How can you tell somebody that they’re not a leader? You’re not around me. I never even met you before. You know nothing about me other than what you see out there on the basketball court, just the couple of minutes of the game that you watch.”
Barkley actually complimented Anthony, saying he likes him as a player and he sees him trying to fit in. He added that Anthony “can never get too down because the young guys are going to feed off of his energy.”
The Knicks took a four-game losing streak into the Portland game. Anthony has voiced his frustration not only about the losses but also the lack of foul calls he’s getting and his own play (he entered the game shooting a career-low 40.1 percent from the field). But when Anthony reacts with frustration during games, it’s often portrayed as he has bad body language and is losing patience with the situation or his teammates.
“I always think it’s a lose-lose situation for me,” Anthony said. “Everybody else is in a different situation. If you take the game in Utah, for example, when I was sitting on the bench thinking to myself trying to figure out what’s going on, if anybody else in the NBA would have did that, it would have been, ‘They’re ticked]. They’re being a leader.’ Me, it’s ‘bad body language.’ ’’
Another knock on Anthony continues to be that he’s selfish, and his detractors point to the end of Thursday night’s game against the Kings.
The Knicks were down two and Anthony was bringing the ball up with 4.6 seconds left. He missed an off-balance three-pointer but was held by Rajon Rondo; no foul was called, and the league admitted the next day that one should have been. A screen shot showed that Kristaps Porzingis was open.
“I was so focused on getting my arm back,” Anthony said. “There was no way that I could have seen him . . . In my mind, did I want to take the last shot? Of course. But once I got my arm grabbed, everything else goes out the window. Even if I wanted to throw it to KP, it was an impossible pass to make. Hindsight is always 20-20.”