On Springtime, Sports, and Carmelo Anthony

I’m pleased to introduce Jon Fishman, Lerner’s manager of reprints, on the Lerner blog today. Not only does Jon deftly deal with anything and everything on Lerner’s reprint list—he’s also a talented writer and our resident sports expert to boot! Here’s Jon.

In my opinion, this is the absolute best time of year to be a sports fan. The baseball season is underway, and athletes in sports such as tennis, golf, auto racing, and soccer are taking advantage of the nice weather that has finally arrived. You’ll have to forgive me for feeling a bit giddy about it all after an April that brought more snow showers than rain showers to Minnesota.

But for some sports fans, the most compelling events in May take place under roofs. The National Hockey League (NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs are in full swing, and as usual, there are many interesting storylines to follow.

Carmelo_BlogFC (2) As the author of Carmelo Anthony (cover pictured), a soon-to-be-released Amazing Athletes title, I’m following the New York Knicks as they try to get back to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1998–1999 season. They lost to the San Antonio Spurs that season. It’s been a long time since the Knicks won the NBA championship. That last happened during the 1972–1973 season, when they took down the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. Only one player on this year’s Knicks squad was alive when the team won the championship in May 1973: Jason Kidd, who was born about two months earlier.

Carmelo Anthony gives the Knicks genuine hope that their long championship drought could come to an end soon. He’s been a winner at every level. As a teenager, he played for one of the country’s most successful high school teams. Then he moved on to Syracuse University and helped his team win the national championship as a freshman starter before heading to the NBA after one season. Carmelo had a lot of success in parts of seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Knicks in 2010–2011, but he has yet to win it all at the highest level.

As of this writing, the Knicks trail the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, one game to zero. The list of players who have won both the national championship in college and the NBA Finals is short and includes basketball legends such as Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I’ll be watching to see if Carmelo can join them.