So I caught the Colbert Report the other night and Edie Falco is being interviewed by Stephen Colbert, and not having the best time. Clearly not a match made in heaven. Stephen’s dry and ironic sarcasm is not penetrating Edie’s mind. She is a serious gal.
I flick over to Sports Center and amongst soccer players biting each other and LeBron James, the story us New Yorkers want to know about – where will leading scorer Carmelo Anthony go next year, is discussed. The consensus is the Chicago Bulls, who have great defense and coaching and check the ‘Big City’ box that’s apparently vital to the Knicks All-Star.
Wow, wow, wow. Carmelo and Carmela. Actually, they have a lot in common, though they handle their situations very differently. And while some of you might say Carmela is a fictitious person and Carmelo is real, eh, details.
Carmela was the materfamilias of the leading syndicate family. Blood in, blood out. The closest thing she got to being disloyal was a sleepover with her Priest, Father Phil, and that was amongst a cacophony of cheating that Tony had put her through, and it was a rainy night, and nothing happened. Tony was cheating on his mistresses, let alone his wife. Carmela and Tony did have a trial separation, and she went out to dinner with one of her son Anthony’s teachers, but even then, she never lost her identity as Tony’s wife and Anthony and Meadow’s Mom.
When Uncle Junior shot Tony and he was lying in the netherworld between here and Kevin Finnerty (the pearly gates or something,) Carmela even stepped it up and made sure the family made its collections. She didn’t deviate or try to align herself with another star.
When Tony’s people killed her daughter’s boyfriend and best friend’s son for robbing a poker game, she never told. When the FBI came she never blinked. When Furio flirted with her, she sent his ass back to Italy.
Carmelo went to Syracuse University. I know a girl who went there too. She told me a story. She said she had a friend who had consensual relations with Carmelo. At the conclusion, he jumped up fist pumped and yelled “100! You’re the hundredth bitch!” Just gossip. I don’t know if he had a girlfriend at the time and am not accusing him of, ahem, infidelity. At Syracuse, with one other marginal NBA player, he chucked his way to the NCAA championship. This was no small feat, as his draft class was the second best of the last 25 years, his competition was also elite.
Carmelo was drafted by the Nuggets, and paired with Allen Iverson, they were competitive in the uber-competitive Western Conference. Allen Iverson has since retired and is a known cocaine addict (fact check me.) One of those teams they were on won one playoff series. AI got a lot of the blame, not for the blow, just for being a chucking scrub, and so they got other guys in to replace him. Unfortunately the other guys, guys like Chris Birdman Anderson (suspended for drug use,) JR Smith (suspended for drug use) and Chauncey Billups, weren’t enough to take the Nuggets to the next level. At least not on the court.
Carmelo wanted out of Denver. He wanted out ASAP. He did not want to wait for Denver, or his contract to “finish.” So instead of playing out the last year of his contract, he forced a trade to the Knicks. He would only go to the Knicks. The reason he wanted to force a trade, instead of signing as a free agent, is so he could have a guaranteed 5th year on his contract. It was not to win a ring. It was not to help the Knicks advance in the playoffs. It was not to help the Knicks. It was 3 years ago when he signed his 5 year guaranteed max deal. Now he has opted out again. All it cost the Knicks was a decade of development.
Commitment Advantage: Carmela
When Carmela knew that Adrianna was missing, and the story didn’t really add up, what did she do? She didn’t rat. When Tony left the house and AJ was being a brat, underperforming in school, etc, and Tony, super guilty as an absentee father (and taking the easy way out at every possible fork when it came to his family, except the time he took Meadow to see colleges) bought AJ a yellow Nissan Xterra, Carmela made Tony take the car away until AJ improved his grades. This made her unpopular with everyone (except AJ’s teacher who liked her and she rebuffed after one date) but she had principles and she stuck to them.
When Carmela’s Mom was nervous that their elitist friends would be embarrassed by Tony and his family, Carmela stood up to her Mother. When Meadow was embarrassed when she saw Tony out at a club, she confronted her husband, and made him reflect on the example he was leading by with his children.
When Carmelo played the Celtics in the playoffs, he got into an altercation with Kevin Garnett, who informed him his wife Lala, tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios. That was a surprise to Carmelo, who apparently hasn’t tasted Lala in years, as it came out that despite their public marriage, they are estranged. So while Carmelo is looking for a new team, Lala had previously said that Melo would stay in NYC. Melo responded that he loves and respects his wife, and those weren’t his words.
When Melo came to New York, he did his best to get along with the team and forge a winning attitude. In doing so he took a team that won 50 wins (a stellar benchmark) the year he arrived, with 2 co-stars, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, and led them to being swept in the first round of the playoffs by Garnett’s Celtics. The next year, he led them to firing their coach, Mike D’Antoni, shipping Lin to Houston, and marginalizing Amare, with the hopes he would retire. Amare’s injuries aside, neither he nor Melo play D, and their redundancy didn’t directly translate into wins. Over 3 seasons in blue and orange, he leaves New York with a completely depleted roster, on the 3rd coach since he “came home,” and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in his career. While he may have done the opposite of elevating everyone around him, he did find a way to abdicate any responsibility for his folly and blame the Knicks for not supporting him.
Leadership Advantage: Carmela
Carmela really has a disadvantage here. She was always so focused on the chaos of her family, she really only had eyes for one man, and did NOT go out of her way to charm anyone (even her husband.) While she apparently made a delicious Manicotta, her biggest charm points seem to have been gained on movie nights with Rosalie Aprile and Silvio’s wife Gab.
Carmelo has a sneaker. Have you seen anyone wearing it? No. Because Carmelo is an asshole. His closest friend on the team when he arrived – Chauncey Billups, was immediately cut with his championship career unceremoniously caught up in the collateral damage of Carmelo’s whims. His next bestie, JR Smith, forced the Knicks to sign his kid brother Chris Smith, which caused a huge locker room divide. So basically Carmelo isn’t big on things like, “friends,” “teammates,” though now we are supposed to believe he is really big on winning? I don’t think so. Because I don’t really like him.