The 2017 offseason has made Knicks fans love Carmelo Anthony as much as they did when he first joined the franchise, and joy has returned.
Throughout all of the last season, there were constant discussions of when Carmelo Anthony was going to be traded. He's outlasted all of that. Maybe he will still get traded, but somewhere along the line after the season ended, Knicks fans found themselves loving Anthony again - perhaps more than they had in a long time.
Fans were resigned to turning a new leaf in the franchise and finding some young pieces to pair with Kristaps Porzingis and co. It got to the point where fans were happy with subpar bundles just to get Anthony out of town. It was like Anthony was already gone.
Somehow over the space of two months, the feeling is back. We can only compare it to a couple getting back together after breaking up. In the back of everyone's minds, you know the same problems are likely going to arise, and it probably won't end well - but you're ready, and maybe even excited for the ride.
It started with Hoodie Melo. Anthony somehow gained superpowers by only working out in a hoodie, and he makes sure those powers don's escape by making sure the drawstrings are pulled really tightly. The internet is back in love with him.
The Blackops sessions with trainer Chris Brickley, alongside the likes of Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, James Harden, CJ McCollum, Kenneth Faried, Tim Hardaway Jr and Enes Kanter have been pure joy for Knicks fans, as well as general NBA fans. The love of the game is definitely there for all to see.
It seems like every single day Anthony is out there looking in magnificent shape. He's never scored less than 20ppg in any year - that dropoff might not come just yet either.
Then came the supportive text messages for Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Willy Hernangomez, each of which participated in Eurobasket. Maybe it's not a big deal, but that veteran leadership and reaching out to his teammates means a lot for a franchise that's been devoid of any clear direction for a long time.
Finally, the underdog story. It's so stupid that it feels like it's not even worth mentioning, and yet it's what's really driving the love for Anthony amongst fans. The disrespect from ESPN to rank him as the 64th best player in the league behind rookie Lonzo Ball got all of basketball Twitter and the NBA Subreddit up in arms.
He's clearly got his flaws, and he's not a top-30 player anymore, but the sheer fact that he's number 64 has got Knicks fans posting his highlights and vocally supporting him. Anthony returned serve on Instagram not long after. It's probably going to be another bleak season in New York, but until a new dawn rises, #StayMe7o