Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why A.I. and 'Melo Will Work

Many people in the sports world have been questioning whether or not Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson can co-exist. After their first game together, a blowout vs. the Grizzlies, the reactions have been mixed.

On the Yahoo! Sports side, you have Adrian Wojnarowski, who’s all for the team. Steve Kerr, on the other hand, isn’t really sold on it.

Si.com’s Kelly Dwyer thinks the duo needs to shoot better to be more effective, but is fairly optimistic.

Over at the worldwide leader, Mark Stein loves the pairing of course. Most of his friends on “Around the Horn” today hated it, with Jay Mariotti as the ring leader. I’m sure these guys will tell us when he becomes the leader of the Nuggets bandwagon after they crush the creampuffs on their schedule from here until the all-star break (9 of 13 teams under .500).

Those who don’t think they can co-exist talk about who’s going to get the shots, who’s going to be the alpha dog, etc. They believe that when both aren’t averaging 30 points a night, one will get mad at the other, etc. Those who believe in the duo cite that Iverson is ready to just win at his age, and he’ll happily defer, which I believe is true. However, there’s another dynamic that not a lot of people are talking about.

Carmelo Anthony is 22 years old, going on 23 in May. When Allen Iverson debuted in 1996, ‘Melo was 12 years old. Look at this picture.

Both cornrows, headbands, tatted up, even the arm sleeves and rubber bands look similar. Iverson was probably the athlete Anthony admired the most as a teenager. I’m 21, so I can relate.

Michael Jordan was the man when guys our age were little kids, but after Iverson did this to Mike, he became the new favorite player for many of us. We still wanted to be like Mike but we knew we couldn’t.

However, A.I. was like us. He was young, small, flashy, and had a “Reasonable Doubt” mid-90s swagger. He wasn’t soaring through the sky, fighting off bad guys and giving kids Valentine's Day cards.

He was crossing people up and breaking ankles, wearing a doo rag and white T to the press conference after the games, talkin’ bout practice. At 12 years old, nobody could dunk, but we could all cross somebody up, or at least make a semi-respectable attempt.

The point is this; Iverson is going to try to make it work as much as possible because this is the best team he’s played on as a professional. But Anthony is going to try to make it work as much as possible too, because he’s playing with a guy he’s obviously been looking up to.

The Nuggets may not win the championship this year, but with a healthy K-Mart (knock on wood), a skinnier Nene, and some seasoning they might be the early favorite for 07-08.

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