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Carmelo Anthony says he embraced challenge of playing for Knicks: ‘Not everybody has that same mentality’

Knicks, Blazers, Carmelo Anthony

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony is cognizant of how NBA stars have passed over the New York Knicks as a potential destination. This was something he didn’t do when the city clamored to have him as he looked to move on from the Denver Nuggets.

While recent free-agent stars stars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose to avoid the Knicks spotlight and chose to sign across the bridge with the Brooklyn Nets, Anthony says he relished the challenge to turn the franchise around after many years of mediocrity.

“I wanted it. It was something I wanted. I wanted to take that challenge on. Whether I failed at it or not I wanted to be able to say that I did it,” Anthony said Sunday night, via Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I took it upon myself to say, ‘Get me there.’ I wanted that challenge. Not everybody has that same mentality.”

Anthony was quick to mention that the pressure and limelight of the Big Apple doesn’t only extend to star players, but the entire organization — something we’ve seen as recently as David Fizdale’s firing on Friday.

“I mean, not everybody can deal with that. Not even just talking about a star, I mean regular player, role guys, just players — a lot of people can’t deal with that,” said Anthony. “There’s not too many people who can deal with what comes with that. I don’t want to say it’s pressure, just everything that comes along with wearing the Knicks across your chest.”

The amount of media attention and hoopla surrounding one of the most profitable franchises in American sports has a certain level of pressure that revolves around the team, going from stars to role players, coaches, and even ownership.

Whether Melo thrived on that pressure or not is a debate for another day, but he was willing to stick with it until the end, something that has endeared him to the fans, even two years after his eventual departure.