Carmelo Anthony, Boost Mobile unveil 128-foot billboard of Knicks star two blocks from the Garden
BY Frank Isola
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Wednesday, March 30th 2011, 4:00 AM
Carmelo Anthony arrives with wife LaLa Vazquez and 4-year-old son Kiyan (both below) to unveil the Knick's 128-foot Boost Mobile billboard at 33rd and Ninth Ave Tuesday.
always believed his famous father was larger than life but even the playful 4-year-old wasn't ready for what awaited him on the corner of 33rd and Ninth Ave. Tuesday.
"Daddy," Kiyan said, "You're taller than the building."
As big as Carmelo Anthony
played for the Knicks
in Monday's crucial overtime win over the Orlando Magic
, he loomed much larger Tuesday when Boost Mobile
unveiled a 128-foot billboard of the All-Star two blocks from the Garden. The endorsement deal with the wireless provider is Anthony's first since being acquired from the Denver Nuggets
But it's not his first Manhattan
billboard. His ad for Brand Jordan is on 34th and Seventh Ave., the same spot where there was an ad for LeBron James
last season. "It was crazy for me to see the Jordan one," Anthony said. "It was right there in the middle of everything. Then to see this one, I can't really put it into words."
Sitting atop a Grey Line
double-decker bus and flanked by his celebrity wife, LaLa Vazquez
, and Kiyan, Anthony sounded more optimistic about the future for himself and his teammates. Anthony produced his best all-around game of the season, scoring 39 points and playing with energy and determination defensively. He resembled the Melo from his days with the Denver Nuggets. His movements offensively were crisp and he wasn't taking possessions off defensively either. After hearing for days how the Nuggets have flourished since his departure while the Knicks have struggled, Anthony seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder.
"It comes to a point man where you just want to make it happen," he said. "And I think me trying to figure everything out, being a part of a new system and a new team, new players. I just wanted to figure it out, and last night I think something just clicked. It was a must-win for us and I needed to go out there and lead my troops."
The Knicks are 36-38 entering Wednesday night's home game against the Nets, who pursued Anthony since late September. Anthony had made it clear from the outset that he preferred to be traded to the Knicks and the Brooklyn
-born small forward got his wish when James Dolan
out-bid New Jersey
But the Nets came away with a decent consolation prize to say the least. After failing to land Anthony, the Nets stunned the basketball world by acquiring All-Star point guard Deron Williams
. Williams, who has been sidelined with a wrist injury, is expected to play Wednesday night. "I had just seen him at All-Star weekend and we had been talking about everything that was going on and he hit me after that saying, 'Man, as soon as you got off the market everybody was just waiting for Jersey with all their picks to make a move,' " Anthony added. "He said he didn't even know, it happened so quick. It was overnight with him."
Of the four teams - Knicks, Nets, Nuggets and Jazz - Denver has been the most impressive since the trades were made. Anthony said that the Knicks, Nets and Nuggets "should be happy about all the transactions" and feels all three teams benefitted in the end. The Knicks still have a long way to go. They are 8-12 since the trade, and Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire
are still learning to play together. Stoudemire carried the pre-Melo Knicks for 50-plus games, but he is showing signs of slowing down.
Anthony, though, has caught a second wind, and the Knicks are relying on him to score more often. The fans can sense it as well. As Anthony was scoring 11 straight third-quarter points, the Garden crowd began chanting "Mel-o, Mel-o." That's even better than a billboard.
"There's no place better to do it than here, man," Anthony said. "The people here, the fans here, they understand our situation and that this is not gonna happen overnight. They've been great, they're patient with us and they just want to see us go out there and just play hard. Regardless of us making shots, or everybody's playing well or not, they just want to see us play hard like we did last night."
- With Christopher O'Brien