Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson have moved past their recent issues. The New York Knicks may have Kobe Bryant to thank for Anthony being so understanding.
The black cloud has passed. The rift between New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson and franchise player Carmelo Anthony has been addressed head-on with a productive conversation that’s returned focus to what truly matters: winning games.
Though it was a conversation between Anthony and Jackson that did the trick, it appears as though there was a superstar mediator involved in the process.
For those who missed it, Jackson caused a commotion by discussing Anthony’s strengths and weaknesses on CBS Sports television program “We Need To Talk.” Many questioned why an employed executive would choose a public platform to offer constructive criticism.
According to Ramona Shelburne and Ian Begley of ESPN, one of the individuals who has helped Anthony understand Jackson’s unorthodox approach is five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant.
“Me and Kobe have countless conversations about that,” Anthony said Saturday after the Knicks practiced in Los Angeles ahead of Sunday’s game against the Lakers.
“That’s something I’ve learned over the years, especially with Phil,” Anthony said, referring to the advice Bryant gave him. “[Jackson’s] going to talk. Nobody can stop that. So try not to read into it too much.”
In reference to the issues that Bryant and Jackson had over the years, Anthony quipped that he may soon follow in The Black Mamba’s footsteps.
“I’m pretty sure I might be in a book,” Anthony said jokingly. “Maybe a couple of books.”
The fact that Anthony can make jokes about what was deemed to be a dividing controversy is a positive sign.
Bryant played for Jackson from 1999 to 2004 and 2005 to 2011, winning five NBA championships. Bryant and Jackson had their issues, but when it came time for the Los Angeles Lakers to replace Mike Brown as head coach in 2012, The Black Mamba publicly requested that L.A. re-hire The Zen Master.
That never came to fruition, but it was a sign of the respect Bryant developed for Jackson over the years they spent together.
One can only hope that Jackson and Anthony will find a common ground like he and Bryant were able to.
For all that’s been said over the past week, Anthony seems to be dealing with it quite well. He and Jackson had a conversation to clear the air on Saturday, December 10, and Anthony went off for 33 points on Friday, December 9.
Both events imply that the Knicks are moving on from this issue altogether.
After years of getting under his opponents’ skin as an agitator on defense, Bryant appears to be more of a mediator in retirement.