Hoops history is in the air and on the airwaves this week, with NBA legends Bernard King and Gary Payton headlining a 12-person class being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.
One current player long linked to King is fellow New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony has stated numerous times that King is his basketball idol, and when he was growing up, he used to study video of the fellow Brooklyn native. King, despite an odd Twitter flap during last year's playoffs, has in turn spoken glowing of Anthony over the years and declared that Anthony the superior player.
If anyone out there has followed my NBA writings over the years, there are a couple of things they've probably noticed. First, I've tended to be pretty hard on Anthony. Another thing is that I pass up no opportunity to work a Bernard King reference into any piece of analysis I possibly can. That's because Anthony and I have something in common: King is my all-time favorite player, too. Suffice to say, all of the Anthony-King comparisons that have cropped up since Melo was traded to New York have tended to draw my scrutiny.
One thing about Anthony that has always puzzled me in reference to his admiration of King is that, if he was modeling his game after his hero, he seems to have overlooked some key things, which I'll get into.
However, comparing the two players is more than a navel-gazing exercise. With the Knicks on the cusp of what I think will be a much more challenging season than people realize, there are key lessons Anthony can still learn from King.