Carmelo Anthony had a successful but tumultuous tenure with the New York Knicks. He was a consistent All-Star and posted some of his best individual numbers in New York, but he never reached the conference finals and made the playoffs only three times. To some extent, that was his own fault. Anthony could have signed with the Knicks as a free agent in 2011, but doing so would have cost him money. Instead, he forced a trade there early, which deprived them of the assets they needed to build a supporting cast around him.
Yet Anthony is still a prominent figure in Knicks history, and he holds a number of team records. That includes the 62 points he scored in a 2014 game, which set both the Knicks and the Madison Square Garden record. This postseason, he attended Knicks playoff games as a fan and received roaring ovations in New York. Now that he has retired from the NBA, he will likely do so more often.
According to SNY's Ian Begley, there is a chance he will be represented at Madison Square Garden in perpetuity, as there is support within the organization to retire his No. 7 jersey. No final decision has been made, but if the Knicks were to retire Anthony's number, he would join a very prestigious group of team legends. Only nine names hang in the rafters of Madison Square Garden: Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Dick McGuire, Earl Monroe, Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing and former coach Red Holzman.
As Begley notes, only Ewing and McGuire have had their numbers retired without winning the Knicks a championship. Other important team figures, like Allan Houston, John Starks and Bernard King, have not. The Knicks have not retired a number since they raised Ewing's No. 33 into the rafters in 2003.
Anthony is the best player to wear a Knicks jersey since then, and he joined the team after several other superstars spurned them in free agency. He may not have won it all in New York, but he took on the challenge when few others would. He doesn't have Ewing's longevity in New York, but as the best Knick of the past two decades, he has a compelling case to be honored at the world's most famous arena.