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Big Apple has Melo Mania as fans await Carmelo's arrival


amny Credit: amNY Photo Illustration

Melo is finally coming back home, and anxious fans are jumping at the chance to see the Knicks' new Brooklyn-born superstar.

With the ink was still drying on the trade that brought Denver Nuggets star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks , Melo Mania has swept the city, as fans put up big bucks for a ticket to the hottest show in town: Anthony's Madison Square Garden debut, which could come tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ticket prices have skyrocketed, reaching $3,000 per ticket on Ticketmaster's TicketExchange, $2,700 on Craigslist, and a whopping $6,000 on ticket resellers and

According to Stub Hub spokesman Glenn Lehrman, the average price on the website yesterday for tonight's game jumped to $310, up from $80 the day before.

"The excitement over Carmelo has just been insane," he said. "The Knicks have been by far the most searched term today, more than double the closest term."

So is Anthony really worth all the hype?

"Most definitely," said Wayne McDonnell, sports management professor at NYU. "He instantly makes them a contender that's going to sell tickets for the remainder of the season."

He added: "To see the electricity and the enthusiasm return to the city's basketball like this, you can't eloquently capture that in words. They've brought in someone who can restore excitement to the Garden."

Tommy Dee of agreed, but said the pressure's on coach Mike D'Antoni to figure out how to best use the 26-year-old, four-time All-Star.

"It's gonna be very interesting to see how the offense clicks," he said.

But no matter what happens, McDonnell said Anthony's arrival is a turning point.

"The dark, ominous clouds of controversy are finally lifting," he said, "and people are starting to realize the Knicks could once again be a legitimate team in the NBA."

Neither the Knicks nor Anthony's agent returned calls for comment. amNewYork and the Knicks are both run by companies owned by the Dolan family.

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