GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Carmelo Anthony said he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong in an exchange with a fan late in Tuesday night’s loss to Portland at the Garden, and said it was the team’s decision to have him issue a statement on the matter on Wednesday.
Asked what prompted him to apologize for the exchange on Wednesday, Anthony replied, “The Knicks. It was a collaborative effort, though. We sat down and we talked about it. Everybody thought it was a good idea to send that apology.”
In the statement Wednesday, Anthony said he let his “frustrations” get the better of him and that he “should not have responded the way I did.”
Anthony said after practice Thursday that he didn’t think he said anything inflammatory and described the exchange in detail.
“I don’t really think I said anything wrong,” he said. “The guy said he wasn’t coming to any more games. I said, ‘Why are you talking to me about it, the owner’s right there. You should discuss that with him. Don’t yell my name out and talk to me about that. Talk to the owner about that.’
“It wasn’t no hostility. He said what he had to say. I said what I had to say. That was that. I didn’t say anything else. Wasn’t no curse words.”
Anthony said he spoke to Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan after the incident, and Anthony said Dolan wanted him to release a statement.
“It was Mr. Dolan’s decision,” Anthony said.
“It’s really not that serious to me,” he added. “It was just one of those moments when you’re getting booed, the team’s getting booed, you’re not playing well. The fan is sitting right there behind the bench. You catch what he’s saying. He’s trying to get your attention. I said what I said. I don’t think I said anything wrong.”
The Knicks said Dolan would not comment on Anthony’s remarks.
“That is between Carmelo, the fan and the owner,” interim coach Kurt Rambis said. “I didn’t hear any of that. It just seems like something that was born out of frustration.”
The Knicks, who have lost 15 of their past 18 games, are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 6 1⁄2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. Still, Anthony was in good spirits Thursday and said, “I’m not frustrated right now.”
Anthony, who missed Wednesday’s annual charity bowling event for what the team called “personal reasons,” took responsibility for the Knicks’ recent struggles.
“I’m the leader of this team,” he said. “I’m the leader of this franchise. I take the good with the bad. At the end of the day, it falls on me. I accept that. I take it. I put the weight on my shoulders and I walk with that weight through the fires. I don’t really care about holding that weight on my shoulders. I’ll still continue to be the leader of this team and still try to get my guys to compete on a daily basis.”
Anthony also apologized to the Knicks’ fans because he knows they’re frustrated. “It’s tough for us to go out there and keep playing and not playing the way we’re supposed to be playing and losing basketball games,” he said. “I don’t want to say ‘be patient’ to the fans. We just got to do better. At the end of the day, we got to do better.
“We apologize for not putting the effort out there and not winning basketball games. At the end of the day, it’s not easy.”
Rambis on Phil’s future
There’s been speculation that team president Phil Jackson could leave after this season and move back to California, but Rambis, who is close friends with Jackson, doesn’t believe that’s the case. “There’s no indication that he has given me that he’s not committed and he’s not staying here,” Rambis said. “Nothing outside of this team has ever been broached in any way, shape or form.”
Rambis on Jimmer
Rambis said he enjoyed working with Jimmer Fredette, whom the Knicks didn’t re-sign to a second 10-day contract, and called him “a nasty competitor.” But Rambis added, “He didn’t do things that would have pushed somebody else out of the rotation. And we didn’t have a great amount of time.” Rambis said management is considering whether to fill the open roster spot: “I don’t know if any clear-cut decision has been made.”
The Dolan family owns
controlling interests in the
Knicks, Madison Square
Garden and Cablevision.
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“I put the weight on my shoulders and I walk with that weight through the fires.”