Carmelo Anthony would look awfully good in a Bulls uniform

Written By BY RICK TELANDER Sports Columnist Posted: 01/26/2014, 09:27pm
Array New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, attempts to drive to the basket as he is guarded by Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng, of Sudan, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

It’s interesting to me that on the same day Jordan Spieth shot a 63 at Torrey Pines, Carmelo Anthony put up 62 at Madison Square Garden.

Of course, Spieth is a golfer and ’Melo is a hoopster, and the Knicks were playing the Bobcats on Friday, not a golf course in California. But Anthony’s 62 points, which included a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot that looked absolutely in rhythm, set a Garden record for most points in the building. It broke former Hall of Famer Bernard King’s franchise record of 60 points and Kobe Bryant’s arena record of 61.

And it went way past Michael Jordan’s famed ‘‘double nickels’’ in a dramatic Bulls victory against the Knicks in 1995. Were all ’Melo’s points needed in a 125-96 rout?

Never mind that. Anthony will be eligible for free agency after this season. When you watch certain elite shooters score, you can see the ball usually goes through the rim in the same fashion, often without touching the iron ring anywhere. Think Ray Allen, Stephen Curry and Jerry West. Anthony is such a shooter.

He is 6-8, agile, rich as sin and just 29 years old. He helped Syracuse with the NCAA championship in 2003 and helped the U.S. Olympic team win gold medals in 2008 and 2012, but he never has made it to the NBA Finals.

Wonder if he might want a ring just a little bit? Enough to cleanse his reputation for being selfish? Uh, yes.

So, Bulls, how about it? You think Derrick Rose will be back at full speed? You have anybody who can score at will? You like the sound of Rose, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Anthony?

I do.

◆ HERE’S A CRAZY POSSIBILITY: NFL players standing outside their training facilities, tamping marijuana into small pipes or rolling careful doobies, firing up and inhaling, nodding at coaches and executives as they walk by.

Insane? Not really.

As the legal lid comes off the world of pot and researchers find there are true medicinal properties to cannabis, athletes who have nerve pain or have suffered brain trauma might be prescribed marijuana as an analgesic.

And here’s the interesting part: Commissioner Roger Goodell says he would consider allowing marijuana use by players if medical experts say it is a legitimate aid for these issues.

‘‘I’m not a medical expert,’’ Goodell said Thursday in New York. ‘‘We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine. And if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that.’’

The exact dope-smoking event that can get a player suspended, fined, sent to rehab or even kicked out of the league might become not much different from getting a cortisone shot or going to the local bar after practice to calm down with a couple of beers.

Come back, Ricky Williams!

◆ THE INTERESTING THING about illegal drugs is that, quite often, the only difference between them and legal drugs is whether they are in fashion with the ruling powers.

Cocaine once was legal. So, too, were many other kinds of stimulants and ‘‘nerve tonics.’’ Alcohol once was illegal.

Now our president has come out and said that, all in all, marijuana is less dangerous than booze. He’s no doubt right. The next time you see some pot-baked young men staggering around, trying to kill each other in a bar fight, freezing to death in snowdrifts or attacking girls at a frat party, let me know.

Not that any of it is good. Taking life straight, no chaser, is clearly the moral, upright way to go down the long path.

But if HBO’s ‘‘Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel’’ can estimate, as it did last week, that between 50 percent and 60 percent of all NFL players use marijuana regularly, then we already know that taking life straight isn’t way up there on the ethics agendas of men who crash into each other for a living.

The players know what pot does for them. They clearly like it and are willing to risk their careers that they won’t get caught by the police, drive while stoned or flunk the minimally enforced NFL dope tests.

If the law means that little to people we follow and admire, then the law is flawed. And once the president talks about having smoked pot when he was younger, then the hypocrisy should come to an end.

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