Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports:
They started standing in Madison Square Garden at the 15-minute mark, when a faraway shot of the Knicks hallway huddle was shown on the JumboTron. They stayed standing, some 19,000 strong, while Carmelo Anthony went through warmups and grooved to “STAT and Melo,” a remix of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” was played. And they gave Anthony a thundering ovation when his spot in the lineup was announced. Carmelo Anthony may have been excited to be in New York but no more than New York was excited to have him.
This is what they wanted, city and player. Anthony wanted to play in a big market — a big east coast market, if possible — and play on a team with a chance to win. New York won’t win a championship this season, but with Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, both 26, they have the building blocks of a potential dynasty. A couple of good drafts, a free agent or two, maybe another big deal (hello, Chris Paul) and the Knicks should be in business.
The fans wanted it, too. They liked Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler. And Timofey Mozgov was starting to grow on them. But Anthony? They love Anthony. Late Monday night when news of the deal first broke, a cluster of weary people waiting in a cab line at JFK airport clutching BlackBerry’s burst out in a staggered cheer. On Wednesday it wasn’t just the Garden that was sold out; outside the arena hundreds of fans, some carrying hand made signs with messages to Anthony, pressed near the building to watch the game on the big screens hanging from the walls.