Amar'e Stoudemire said there was "room in New York for another King" and the arrival of Carmelo Anthony, who will make his Knicks debut tonight at the Garden, will sort of be that.
A generation ago, Bernard King welcomed the arrival of Patrick Ewing and felt the two could win a championship together. Injuries to both caused them to never get the chance to play together and then Al Bianchi foolishly decided not to re-sign King when his contract expired.
The rest is history. Or, better yet, failed to be history.
Over 20 years later, Carmelo joins Stoudemire as a potentially devastating 1-2 punch that King-Ewing could have been. Anthony said he his game as a power small forward and prolific inside-outside scorer is often compared to King's and they share Brooklyn roots and, of course, a healthy dose of mutual respect. Anthony earlier in his career had King appear in a commercial with him as one of several mentors and inspirational figures.
Anthony in November said he used to watch tapes of King "all the time . .. He was just a guy I can see, watching my film and watching his film, there's some type of resemblance."
Though their timelines never really were congruent -- King was gone from New York by the time Anthony was old enough to understand basketball while growing up in Brooklyn and was done with the Bullets by the time Anthony moved to Baltimore as an eight-year-old -- Carmelo added that when he first started playing the game, friends and relatives told him about King.
"I was born in New York, so I had family who was in tune with what was going on with the Knicks," he said. "And Bernard King, a lot of people loved Bernard King. And growing up, people started saying, 'Oh you remind me of Bernard King.' And I started haking heed of that and started watching more film as I got older and started learning the game more."
King, who is not expected to attend tonight's Legend's Night at the Garden, has been rooting hard for the Knicks to acquire his protege.
"I am happy he has the chance to fulfill his dream and experience the pride of being a Knick," King told Newsday in a text message this morning, "and playing in front of the best crowd in the world."