Melo Loves Basketballs And He Is Here To Protect Them

We have misunderstood Melo from day one. He had been telling us, we just didn’t listen

Antonio Losada
Jun 18, 2020 · 7 min read
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Getty Images/Antonio Losada (Twitter)

I have been watching basketball for quite some time now but somehow, something about it slipped through the cracks. I am Carmelo Anthony’s no. 1 stan since the day he stepped on the draft day’s stage floor with a silly oversized suit. Everybody wore oversized suits back in 2003. It was ridiculous but it was normal in the early aughts. I don’t remember anyone saying anything bad about those suits back in the day. Seriously.

Those draft day pictures were cool and we all saw them and spent five seconds on them and then flipped the page and read the next SLAM article printed on the zine’s pages. Why losing time over those photos when you could drool over Jason Richardson posterizing Raef Lafrentz a couple of pages later?

There was no #LeagueFits hashtag in 2003. We didn’t need it because Allen Iverson and his hood clothes were nothing bad back then. We were all happy with them. Those were actually baggy clothes and not the draft suits. Allen Iverson’s 2003 denims had room for three fools. Each leg I mean. But then the NBA introduced this stupid dress code and Tim Duncan found his groove.

I’m happy though because 2005 was the year the NBA introduced the police-happy measurements yet Iverson flexed on David Stern and lit up rims to the tune of his league-leading 30.7 PPG that year and career-best 33.0 PPG in 2006. Shouts to the late DS for making it possible!

I’ve gone totally out of the main plot, which I think I haven’t even introduced yet. Anyways. I told you that I have been Carmelo’s no. 1 fan since day one. I have seen tons of Melo. I have endured Western game times, I have watched mediocre Knicks teams. I have gone through Oklahoma and Houston. And somehow, I had never thought of Melo the way I am thinking of him these days.

You know what I am talking about. If you have lived under a rock, you have definitely missed it. We Melo stans are happy and you don’t know why. “Hey, can’t be the weed, Melo is not playing in Denver anymore”. Well, Melo is not playing in Denver but Melo is back in the league, which I’m glad I’m experiencing because I missed my weekly dose of Meloball. So Portland was it. But that is not the main point of discussion here.

Anthony has been criticized to death since he left New York. He became an all-complains player. Melo only wants to start — hey P, they say I gotta come off the bench! Melo doesn’t know how to stay on the bench. Melo this, Melo that, but all bad.

But all bad.

Seriously? All bad, for real? Stop for a minute and think about it, please. Do me this favor. It just occurred to me the other night. I was sleeping and dreaming of basketball being back from its COVID-propelled hiatus and Melo just appeared to me in my dreams and I watched him as I have done for years now and he was doing his trademarked ball-hug thing and I just realized there in that very moment what everything is about Melo and all of what has surrounded him after he left New York and people took it hard to him.

I didn’t plan on writing about this but speaking of ball-hugging guys Tim Duncan was a great one. Never in my life would have I thought I’d put Tim Duncan’s name in this article twice. But Tim Duncan is a master of ball-hugging. You can’t think of Duncan celebrating a victory or crying after a loss without hugging a ball. Balls are hard and of rough skin but he made a living out of hugging balls. His Getty Images profile page has almost than 33,000 photos and 25,593 of them show him hugging a ball. I counted them myself. I kept track of it all in a Moleskine.

Moleskine’s are nice notebooks, but they’re quite pricey. I used this one because my aunt gifted it to me and I had no other use for it. People don’t write anymore. People type. On a keyboard on the computer or the phone or whatever. Paper is old-school. I like paper sometimes, though. It makes it easier to take a note here and there.

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Was it because of Tim Duncan that we never realized Melo was hugging the ball as much or more than him? Tim Duncan has been around the league for so long that my grandfather once told me his grandfather attended his first game. Crazy. But Melo has hugged the ball since day one. For real. He had very few tattoos on the oldest picture I found of him hugging a ball. He also had his cornrows still.

Who has cornrows these days? Kawhi Leonard, maybe. Kawhi Leonard is so weird that even when he wants to be normal and cool and like the rest of the dope NBA players he just can’t. He arrived at the whole cornrow thing 10 years later at the very least. Every kid wanted to sport cornrows a few years ago but that is so Y2K now, isn’t it? Kawhi Leonard is one of a kind indeed.

The thing with this whole ball-hugging: What if Melo is just someone put into the Association to save basketball? Not basketball but basketballs actually. What if he knows something we don’t? What if basketballs are living beings? I have not talked to a basketball ever in my life. I might have. I have not received any response if I have, though.

But there are more ways of communicating other than just talking I guess. Sam Cassell was very good at communicating through gestures on the court. He was a very special player. I like Sam Cassell.

If basketballs are living beings then I understand Melo’s attitude. It all makes sense. Melo loves basketballs. Melo hugs basketballs because he cares about basketballs. Basketballs are Melo’s best friends. They say Melo is from another era because he is the prince of the mid-range shot. He doesn’t shoot three-point shots.

And if Melo is here to protect basketballs then why is he going to shoot three-point shots? Melo wants to softly put basketballs to bed. He wants to make them go through the rim, and feel the net, and hear the swish. Mid-range shots are easier to make.

Do you know what happens when you miss a three-point shot? Most of the time the ball ricochets off the rim. That means the ball hits the rim. Imagine being hit with a rim in the face. Would you like that? I wouldn’t like that. Basketballs don’t like that. I know for a fact. I don’t know for a fact really and they haven’t told me but you can infer it. It is very logical, I think. That is why Melo likes to not risk another hit to the basketballs.

Have you seen Melo trying to grab rebounds lately too? “Fuck outta here, Hassan!” is his motto these days. He predicates the word in Oregon. He’s got a few disciples already. It wasn’t hard because Hassan makes it easier to apply the doctrine daily. He doesn’t put on any effort so it is easy to kick him out of your zone. He is so good yet so bad, Hassan. He’s got the bag full though.

Back to the rebounds. I guess you already know why Melo wants all the rebounds. What the hell are those voices saying he only looks to pad his stats to look good and don’t get cut? Melo only wants the basketballs to not get cut. He wants to give basketballs the heat of his warm arms after they hit the rim and got hurt. He wants to save them from hitting the floor or fall in the wrong hands.

Why do you think Anthony has never been a top assister in the league? He never wants the basketball handled by them dangerous men out there.

We have to concede. Melo has been saying it every day for the last forty-four years. “There was a time that I actually thought that I was about to let go a love of my life”. Those are actual Anthony’s words from when he signed with Portland earlier this season. Seriously. He has been telling us for years. He always loved basketball, the game, and the object. He’s only here to protect it. He wanted to start games to save as many basketballs from suffering another unpleasant hit as he could get his hands on. Yet people keep up with the critics.

I hope you, like me, after this eye-opening truth has been revealed, appreciate what Melo has done and keeps doing for the sport these days.

Stay Melo. Forever.


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Antonio Losada

Written by | Twitter: @chapulana | IG: @chapulana | Honcho of Head Fake


Original reporting and curated sports data journalism. Actively looking for additional writers.

Antonio Losada

Written by | Twitter: @chapulana | IG: @chapulana | Honcho of Head Fake


Original reporting and curated sports data journalism. Actively looking for additional writers.

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