EDITOR'S NOTE: This feature originally ran in 2012 and was updated to reflect Carmelo Anthony's current stats.
In this era, most of the elite NBA stars roll with Jordan, Magic, or Bird when describing the most influential players of their childhood. While there’s no doubt those stars of yesteryear played a major part in Carmelo Anthony’s life as a youngster, his idol was a man simply known as “The King”.
“Being from Brooklyn, him being from Brooklyn, it just goes hand in hand,” Anthony confirmed.
The similarities between the two players go far beyond their native borough in Brooklyn. Bernard King was a dominate scorer, registering over 19,000 points in his storied career that featured four All-Star appearances. Anthony is considered one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league today with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and blow past defenders off the dribble. Currently, Anthony ranks No. 15 among active players for points with 16,297 in nine NBA seasons.
“Bernard King's game that stood out, it was the way he was able to move in a quick fashion but always just stop on the drop of a dime and make a counter move or pull up for a jumper,” Anthony explained.
Watching film of the two explosive forwards, it’s clear they utilized gifted ball-handling skills to rock the opposition. The shot releases are completely different but Anthony and King have displayed a knack for filling the scoring column regardless of double teams or the defensive scheme geared to stop them on a nightly basis.
Anthony torched the league in 2012-13 en route to his first scoring title. He knocked Kevin Durant off his perch by averaging 28.7 points per game and became only the second Knick to top the NBA in scoring, next to of course, King. This past summer in the London Olympics, Anthony showed the world his offensive capabilities in a jaw-dropping performance where he scored an unimaginable 37 points in 14 minutes.
King enjoyed great moments in a Knicks uniform as well. The small forward dropped over 40 points in four games during the 1984 playoff series against the Detroit Pistons. A year later, King was nearly unstoppable, averaging a league-best 32.9 points per game to go along with a franchise record 60 points on Christmas Day and 55 against the Nets on February 16.
Aside from the sheer offensive talents from the two players, their personalities and approach to the game bare a strong resemblance. Anthony smiled while sharing memories of his idol, “He was a silent assassin, didn't really say too much but got the job done.”
For Anthony, the chance to perform in a New York uniform is a great opportunity to rewrite the record books and pay homage to the man he looked up to growing up in Brooklyn. On closer examination, it’s becoming quite evident; Melo and The King are intertwined on so many levels.