LOS ANGELES — Phil Jackson approached Carmelo Anthony on Saturday to clear the air about the comments he directed at him this past week. One of the things Anthony asked the Knicks’ president: Why is he always talking about him?
Anthony said it was a short conversation before Saturday’s practice, but he said he got a better understanding of why Jackson essentially called him a ball-stopper in an interview with CBS Sports Network.
“He’s got to be careful with the choice of words that he uses,” Anthony said. “He understands that, he knows that.”
In an interview that aired Tuesday, Jackson said Anthony holds on to the ball too long. After Anthony read the full comment, he posted quotes and pictures on Instagram on Thursday that were aimed at Jackson. One was a photo of his idol, Muhammad Ali, with arrows in his body.
Throughout Jackson’s career as a coach and now an executive, he’s been known to speak critically about his players. One in particular was Kobe Bryant. Anthony is close with Bryant and said he has had “countless conversations” with the retired Laker about Jackson.
But Anthony said he was “caught off guard” by Jackson’s remarks, especially with the Knicks playing well of late.
“That was my question: why?” Anthony said. “Regardless of what was the context of it — interview or conversation — just why? Regardless of what you said, why every time my name comes up? Regardless of what we’re doing. He explained that. For me, it’s been behind me since two days ago. At this point, it ain’t no need for me to keep harping on the same situation.”
But it seemed important to Anthony that Jackson initiated the talk and that they spoke.
“It’s not really any amends to make,” Anthony said. “From my standpoint, there’s no problems, there’s no issues. He said what he had to say. I won’t go into details. He said his piece. I said my piece. Two men spoke.
“It wasn’t anything that was affecting me. It was just something that if I got an opportunity to speak to him, I was going to tell him how I felt about what happened and what was said, if anything was misinterpreted. He spoke his piece.”
Jackson left the gym before reporters entered, so he was unavailable for comment. He hasn’t spoken to reporters covering the team since September.
Jackson has granted two interviews since that time, and in both he created a stir.
The first was with ESPN.com, when Jackson drew the ire of LeBron James for referring to his friends and business partners as a “posse.” Then came the remarks about Anthony.
Anthony knows he’s not the first person Jackson has criticized and that he won’t be the last. “Honestly, it’s not surprising,” he added. “To me, it’s not surprising. I think you get to a point in life where it’s like, ‘OK, it’s water off your back.’ You try not to read into things too much. I think this was one of those situations.”
He said that’s something Bryant advised him when dealing with Jackson.
“Keep on going,” Anthony said. “Keep your head up and moving. Don’t read into it too much. For me, that’s something I’ve learned over the years, especially with Phil. He’s going to talk. Nobody can stop that. So try not to read into it too much.”