11.16.2007

Pierce That Aura



We might have something later today, but right now I need your help.

Yardbarker has arranged for me to interview Carmelo Anthony, and they want me to do it with an FD-ish slant. Within the realm of reason, of course. So at some point in the next few weeks—dates are still fluid—I'll be flown somewhere to conduct a sit-down with Melo.

Any questions you all wanted asked? I ask this both out of generosity, and out of the need for extra brainstorming. Don't even bother with Wire-related questions, I think I'm covered on that front.

65 Comments:

At 11/16/2007 11:00 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

The party's over. No more anonymous comments, only registered users.

 
At 11/16/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger paperpusher said...

he's probly too young, and the show was in "Boulder," but can you work in Mork and Mindy?

and just where is gerry mcnamara?

 
At 11/16/2007 11:23 AM, Blogger NW Narcissist said...

Don't know how far you're planning to go on the NBARS front, but I'd be real keen to hear about how Melo's Latino roots play for him on the court (to what extent if any is that heritage relevant in his relationships with teammates and colleagues around the L), and whether that background made him "different" growing up in Westy.

Also, I imagine it's either already on your list or already crossed off as too sensitive, but JR Smith: can he hold it down and put together a career?

Man, congratulations. This is pretty much your Malcolm in Mecca moment, no?

wv: unaddqqf - (I'm trying to get) unaddicted to qyntell's and quentin's foulups.

 
At 11/16/2007 11:27 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I think the trick is going to be asking these questions in a non-thorny, totally palatable way.

So like J.R.: I'd put it out there that I'm a big fan of J.R., hope he pulls it together, wonder what he's done to mentor Smith and if his own problems early on makes it more natural for him to take on that role.

Have been trying for over a week to figure out how to broach the race thing. Maybe something banal, like if he's a fan of any Puerto Rican food or reggaeton.

 
At 11/16/2007 11:42 AM, Blogger evan said...

Shoals,

I did a an interview with Wade earlier this year for a magazine and if you want, shoot me an email. Have a couple of tips from my experience (first time interviewing a superstar) to make it much easier on both sides of the mic.

evan at nerditry dot com

 
At 11/16/2007 11:51 AM, Blogger Dan said...

some thoughts, basically just from what has been on here recently...
1. his take on melo vs. lebron/personal rivalries. obviously not the question he and we have heard ad nauseum, but something along the lines of your recent post about his tangible excellence vs lbj's unlimited potential. this could be related to something about the league of superstars and the importance of the individual.

2. favorite philosopher

wv: mfstoy- jewish misfits tribute band?

 
At 11/16/2007 12:02 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Who really runs that ship? Him or the Answer? It was his team when Iverson came on board, and they're both alpha males. Can a team do great things when both their primary scorers need to dominate the ball to be effective, and both need to be the unquestioned leader in the Locker Room. I've always thought that pairing works better on a Fantasy team than a real roster.

2. Can we expect him to be more than the Dominique Wilkins of his generation?

 
At 11/16/2007 12:06 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

before melo actually came back, i heard iverson explain in a locker room how (to paraphrase) melo was the voice/face/center of the team, he just lead by example and kept the atmosphere right. but i wonder how that's actually worked out.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:09 PM, Blogger goathair said...

I think it'd be interesting to hear his thoughts on Jordan and how involved he is with Melo and his shoes.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:12 PM, Blogger Me. said...

Who's NBA career path would you rather follow? The pedigree of Barkley or the hands of Horry?

2. Something related to music that I can't think of right now.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:12 PM, Blogger John said...

Why does he have a WB (Warner Brother's) tattoo on his left shoulder???

No really, that clashes with his image pretty harshly and is just... out of place.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:14 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Specific questions and general topics:

Does he think the phrase "pure point guard" is a tool of oppression?

Thoughts on the continuing relevance of positionality, particularly in light of the trend in the league back toward up-tempo play.

Exploration of him and LBJ seconded.

I haven't seen much from him on the marketing/advertising side recently. In his own words, what's his current strategy and how does it tie in with Brand Jordan.

Allen Iverson: great teammate or greatest teammate?

Definitely some questions about JR, but also KMart. He won't take care of that missing outside shooting, but maybe he brings something to the team that it's been missing in the playoffs the last few years.

Thoughts on the Class of 2003.

What's his spirit animal?

Some exploration of the notion that the way one plays hoop is a reflection of the inner person.

Definitely NBARS, I just don't know what yet.


WB = West Baltimore

 
At 11/16/2007 12:24 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:26 PM, Blogger cw said...

Is he going to have any idea of what FD is like before you interview him? I'm really curious to what NBAers would think of FD. I think they would have great insights to the whole race discussion and how that relates to being a FD approved player or team. On the other hand, I don't know if the average player would appreciate this site. Do you know of any players who have read it? If so, what were their reaction.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:27 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

Does AI stepping onto the floor scare the opposing team as much as it seems?

Also, check out NBA leaders. Randolph and Kaman in the top 3 in rebounding? I never thought I'd see the day.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:31 PM, Blogger cw said...

Why is there that little garbage can at the foot of my comment? Is it because my verb tenses don't agree in the last sentence. I assure, that was a typo.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:33 PM, Blogger cw said...

Again with the garbage can.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:44 PM, Blogger goathair said...

The Warner Brothers tattoo represents West Baltimore (WB).

The garbage can is so you can delete your comments.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

I doubt it SofEwing. I admire his guts, and how tough he is, the way he never backs down from anybody and the sheer physical punishment he absorbs. He's also a joy to watch. But personally, I'd say he's overrated. Yeah, he got a mediocre Leastern team to a Finals. Still, it takes him almost 30 shots to score 30 points, and he is kind of like Maravich in that he's a great iso player whose game doesn't translate into team success very easily in the pro game.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:48 PM, Blogger cw said...

Does that happen every time? I don't remember seeing that. THat's kind of cool, if so. It gives you time to reconsider a hasty thought that you will regret later. I could use one of those in my marriage.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:52 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

All I know of: Morris Almond likes the site, Elton Brand read our Seckbach roundtable (told Elie it was funny). Gilbert Arenas knows we exist. Beyond that, no idea.

Now I wish I'd kept that anon. thing on, so some insider-y people could chime in.

 
At 11/16/2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Bongo said...

I think the biggest problem you're going to have is to be able to get him to answer some semi-deep, serious questions without him reverting back to athlete-speak cliches. The fact is, these guys have been taught since they became famous just to say the same things, and while I have no doubt that Melo is an engaging personality, if you try and lead him into some unfamiliar territory, my guess is he, like most celebrities (and politicians), will try and get back to the familiar via cliche.

The problem as I see it, is gonna be avoiding these 2 routes: 1)getting a funny, engaging interview where he tells funny stories but nothing of real substance or 2) you asking serious questions and him giving cliched answers. I'll be quite interested to see how it goes.

Also, I'm sorry I have no real advice or anything to give. I suck at journalism.

 
At 11/16/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

The mind reels. Regarding the class of '03, I would ask about Darko himself--does he have a chip on his shoulder about being passed over or missing the chance to be a Piston? Does he think some of the guys--Kaman, even Darko--are finally showing up?

Asking about living in Denver is massively banal, but there must be an interesting question about going from Bodymore to the Mile High Club and what that does to your mind grapes.

With any star, I'm curious about the moment he realized that he wasn't just better than the other kids but was a whole fuckload better. That has to mess you up too.

 
At 11/16/2007 2:07 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

Babydaddy--I'm guessing you mean, does *Melo* have a chip on his shoulder? I doubt Darko is wondering why he didn't go first in that draft.

 
At 11/16/2007 2:07 PM, Blogger Tom said...

All I know of: Morris Almond likes the site, Elton Brand read our Seckbach roundtable (told Elie it was funny). Gilbert Arenas knows we exist. Beyond that, no idea.

This maybe a bit too TMZ for you Shoals but seeing as how blogger-baller interviews are so rare, it would be cool if you can get the inside dirt on which NBA players are coming on and talking smack on the blogs. You know there's at least a few.

 
At 11/16/2007 2:14 PM, Blogger Maxwell said...

Maybe use this as an ice breaker:

http://withleather.com/post.phtml?pk=4372

 
At 11/16/2007 2:45 PM, Blogger The Inevitable Muck-up said...

I saw a video over at With Leather today with Melo and A.I. out celebrating a win. In the video he said Nene was no longer with his "Porno Honey" I want to know exactly what that meant by that.

He also named a few players on the team who were great but weren't even hitting the court. Ask him who he feels is the more FD player not getting time on the court.

 
At 11/16/2007 2:59 PM, Blogger berts said...

What makes Melo special is that were this interview to be with Lebron, none of us would be excited because we'd know all we'd get is something canned.

 
At 11/16/2007 3:22 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

Ask Melo to explain his jab step. It's too nice to ignore.

 
At 11/16/2007 3:24 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I'm not sure what to ask yet, but I think Kobe is a worthy FD topic. Melo spent the summer with him; he has to have some interesting things to say about KB's psychology.

 
At 11/16/2007 3:48 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

I second the question about when he realized just how good he was. I follow basketball recruiting fairly closely, and Melo was something of a late bloomer, only getting a lot of national attention when he was a junior. I think he might've had a big growth spurt or something like that.

That reminds me that Melo, Amare, and Raymond Felton were the big studs in that class, along with, um, Shavlik Randolph. Even though Melo and Felton both went on to win national championships, they seem to be at such different points in their careers. That's sort of interesting to think about, how your draft class is more your identity than your graduating class. Like, Melo is thought of as the same age as D-Wade, even though he's two and half years younger.

Or maybe I'm the only one that finds that interesting.....

 
At 11/16/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger Heretic said...

I signed up for the account just to leave a comment here. I fully agree with Brown recluse, and would like to take that concept a step further. Does Melo, or any player for that matter consider his age as a factor once he makes it into the L. or is his service time more of his new "age"

 
At 11/16/2007 4:13 PM, Blogger trouc said...

I'll third on the realization question, and the jab step sounds good too. Since Melo's game doesn't seem so built on athleticism it'd be interesting to hear how and where he got his moves. You always see people talk about Dirk or James needing some post moves, it'd be cool to see somebody explain how you actually go about building up that offensive arsenal.

 
At 11/16/2007 4:19 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Shoals, kudos on locking down the anonymous posters. My question for you about Melo is this: in your Longform piece on he and LeBron you say he's the heir to Iverson's throne while LeBron is a soulless Jordan-bot, so does that make him the next generation's AI to LeBron's Kobe? Would Melo see it that way?

 
At 11/16/2007 4:33 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Big props Shoals for landing this interview. It should be good.

I guess I'll give this a try: Can you ask him (in a more diplomatic way) what the hell JR Smith did or does on a regular basis that got him so far into George Karl's doghouse? I mean, we're talking about George Karl here, not Larry Brown... homeboy is known for being a lenient, tolerant coach. What the hell could he have done to get buried behind Linas Kleiza?!?

He probably won't answer if you did ask, so maybe the right question is "how much tolerance does George Karl have for players who don't follow orders?"

JR Smith will never succeed in the NBA, guys. If he can't make it on Karl's team, he's unlikely to find success somewhere else, unless he makes a drastic change....

 
At 11/16/2007 4:35 PM, Blogger tommi teardrop said...

formerly known as "iverson fan"

I'd like to know if Melo has figured out how to pass out of an effective double team yet. And if he ever thought that Jacques Vaughn would be able to deny him of an entry pass into the post?

And how did the 1 on 1s with Hakim Warrick play out?

Did his friends clown him for the cheap shot in the Knicks brawl?

Did playing a pure zone in college stunt his growth as an on the ball defender in the NBA?

 
At 11/16/2007 4:41 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

On Melo, JR, and "age": I've noticed even Shoals refer to Melo as the vet and JR as still a young guy in the L. But Melo is only about a year and half older, and JR was in the 2004 draft. I'd be interested in hearing about whether Melo actually does see himself as a mentor to JR, as well as the whys and hows of it, given that they're practically the same age and have been playing about the same amount of time.

 
At 11/16/2007 4:48 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

SML--After I wrote that Longform section on "let's hope J.R. gets it together," Stumbleweed more or less told me "watch harder, he has." It's true--he's suddenly actually developed some judgments and instincts, even during garbage time. Plus he's handling the ball a lot without disastrous results.

Mr. Six--Melo lead a major program to a national championship, and has been a franchise player since hitting the league. J.R. came out of high school with moderate fanfare, and only now has found anything resembling a stable situation. Melo's just got more wisdom of experience going for him.

 
At 11/16/2007 4:52 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

I support anonymous commenting. If you must delete the self-loathers, do so. There have been MANY interesting anonymous comments that now will not be made. Even more of them junk, of course, but do you punish the class for a couple of bad apples?

 
At 11/16/2007 5:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

If someone really wants to say something, they can take two minutes to register with a meaningless alias. It only really deters assholes, who probably can't be bothered with the inconvenience.

I guess this means that, in theory, all comments will now have some kind of history to them. Like we'll know now that StinkyFrog423 made two comments, instead of them falling out of the ether at separate times. Is that such a big deal?

I would only really worry about this if we were flush with insider information in our comments section.

 
At 11/16/2007 5:12 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

Heh, "I would only really worry about this if we were flush with insider information in our comments section."

That'll be the day.
On that note: ask who his funniest teammate is. I'm gonna say Camby is the life of the after-party.

 
At 11/16/2007 5:23 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Shoals--But does Melo see it that way? Does JR? Why? If yes, how did they come to the mentor/mentee roles?


wrgif--world renowned smiley

 
At 11/16/2007 5:30 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/16/2007 5:32 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

Last night on TNT Durant says he's molded his game after Melo. That has to be weird to be an influence when one is still so much in the process of becoming.

Don't know if this is possible to ask but I've always thought it must be impossible to actually make friends as a guy like Melo. I mean outside of the basketball fraternity is it possible to have a real relationship with someone he just met. It always made perfect sense to me that guys bring along their friends when they first join the league, move to a new city. I don't know.

Also he's an individual, but also an industry. Does somebody with Nike or whoever, sit him down and have meetings on codes of conduct and communication, does he get a sit down from an agent after the snitching thing for example? Again probably an impossible question.

Of personal interest, does Melo watch boxing, or has he ever done any. As noted earlier, his jab step and footwork speak to the same level of dedication and craft that top level prize fighters possess.

 
At 11/16/2007 7:02 PM, Blogger ART said...

Melo, along with most pro ballers, are avid philanthropists. Is this because of pressure put on him by the NBA, or the Nuggets? and had he not become a pro baller, does he think he would have been a positive community leader?

 
At 11/16/2007 8:54 PM, Blogger BreadCity said...

I'm curious what Melo thinks, in his own opinion, is his most signature kind of game. Is it getting hot in the first quarter and then cooling down until the fourth? A steady burn? Does he feel like there's a stat line that is most Melo? Does he ever see another player, and think, that was a Melo-type game?

On a personal note, though, in my experience it's never the questions that get good answers. It's just those magical circumstances when a semi-normal conversation manages to take place, and it goes from there.

 
At 11/16/2007 9:19 PM, Blogger Sleeve said...

I'd like to know if the Nuggets use the term "Swag" a la the Wizz....or do they have their own term?

 
At 11/16/2007 11:35 PM, Blogger BW said...

Cheikh Samb! Is anybody seeing this right now?

I had no idea he would even play this season...

 
At 11/17/2007 1:37 AM, Blogger El Presidente said...

NBA.com says Chris Kaman and Baron Davis ties each other for a game high in blocks - with 5. Sick.

 
At 11/17/2007 6:04 AM, Blogger ronald james davis said...

annnnnnnnnnnnnd Durant.

 
At 11/17/2007 7:22 AM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

So much good stuff tonight:

I was definitely witness to the Cheik Samb show. That Detroit bench is pretty spectacular to watch. The Cheik/Amir combo tries swatting everything in sight and it's awesome to behold. I think somehow the boxscore shorted Samb like 8 blocks.

Also not one, but two random 40-pt outbursts (Damien Wilkins and David West; Martin's outbursts are no longer random). Although I guess OTs are sort of cheating.

Finally, the becoming of Durant. It's going to be a good year.

 
At 11/17/2007 11:36 AM, Blogger cw said...

Having lived in Seattle during Karls Sonic years I know that Karl can be a total asshole to players he doesn't like. He used to pick guys and then grind them down emotionally. I was Kendal Gill who was the most famous example-

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9404E6DE113FF933A25751C1A960958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2

-but there were others too. He'd fuck witht hem in practice and in games and then talk bad about them to the press. He's got some kind of ego problem. Everyone in Seattle was completely glad to see him go and it's been like that everry place he's coached.

 
At 11/17/2007 11:38 AM, Blogger cw said...

Um... that shoudl have read :"IT was Kendall Gill who was the..."

I am not Kendall Gill, not one of those fabled insiders. I'm just a regular guy with poor proof-reading skills.

 
At 11/17/2007 3:47 PM, Blogger El Presidente said...

I'm not too happy about seeing the Warriors sign DJ MBenga. He is a 7 foot freak, like a thicker Ryan Hollins who looks like a Popeye Jones/Nosferatu mash-up. I wonder how his ACL is doing?

 
At 11/17/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

DJ Mbenga is a 7-foot personal foul. The Warriors might as well have cap space play Center.

 
At 11/18/2007 12:47 AM, Blogger Kid_Dynamite said...

Ask him about the "Race War Semiotics" posts, i.e. does he consider himself more of a Jewish or Asian player? (I am going to go with Asian, something about the Tao being like water, always flowing downhill, and being in the rockies. I'm not sure where I'm going with this). Either way I' love to hear his answer.

 
At 11/18/2007 1:11 AM, Blogger El Presidente said...

"DJ Mbenga is a 7-foot personal foul."

So was DeSagana Diop.

 
At 11/18/2007 2:09 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

Diop also stopped eating Krispy Kreme and never tore his ACL. I wonder how much burn Mbenga will get with Harrington and Biedrins ahead of him.

 
At 11/18/2007 2:38 AM, Blogger BW said...

Carter,

I was trying to figure out what I like so much about the Pistons bench this year... for me, it's not just how athletic the Detroit JV is. It's that - something I've taken from freedarko - the most interesting teams are well defined in "knowing who they are."

Stuckey, Afflalo, Maxiell, Johnson, and (surprisingly now) Samb... they all strike me as "Pistons" - there's a fit in regards to whatever invisible identity exists/has been created with the starting five. This is just a quicker/younger/wilder version. A more palatable FD five that (I think) might keep Detroit from being lumped in with San Antonio anymore (or as they start getting more run).

I can't think of a team that's had five young kids waiting in the wings like this, all who fit already (at least in my mind) with some strange sense of synergy/cohesion to the whole of their team.

Apologies for all the hyphens/parentheses - I haven't sorted this all out in my head yet - but there's a part of this idea that I really like.

 
At 11/18/2007 1:50 PM, Blogger guntalk said...

talk about all the glen robinson comparisons. it was always a backhanded compliment in that g-rob was a great college player and something of a disappointing pro. that ties into the perception that melo isn't especially athletic -- does that offend him? does he think that criticism has merit? does he view his success as a product of athleticism or polished craft?

also, definitely talk about baltimore club music.

 
At 11/18/2007 3:20 PM, Blogger Kaifa said...

You could ask him how he defines "right way basketball".

 
At 11/18/2007 4:17 PM, Blogger badly drawn boykins (fka spinachdip) said...

I'm going to be an asshole (especially considering the grief he got for the "don't snitch" DVD) and suggest: "If you didn't grow up to be a basketball player, which Wire character would you have become?"

I'm going to guess Sibotka.

WV: bpppzty - "Bitch, ppplease," said Zeke, "Thank you."

 
At 11/18/2007 5:37 PM, Blogger The Gong said...

Stars are obviously bred through extreme training and commitment to their work. But I've wondered whether as a middle-school/high school star he always worked extraordinarily hard or if he only started to really train his body and perfect his game once he realized he was a level above everybody else. I guess I'm asking if the skill is inborn or bred through drive.

 
At 11/19/2007 2:34 AM, Blogger James said...

I like the alternate-universe Pistons wrinkle that someone alluded to. What does he reckon would have been different had he ended up with the Pistons, going into a team with a halfcourt tendency, and a shorter path to top-flight contention? Would he have changed the team, or would the team have changed him? How would he have developed differently as a player?

 
At 11/19/2007 11:26 AM, Blogger Marcus said...

I second Breadcity above that the best interviews are about sparking the right kind of conversation, not the specific lineup of questions. So think of the themes that you'd really like to have a conversation about.

Given the FD perspective, I'd say something about how playing style and technique is developed -- especially the synergies and tensions between self-expression and effective performance. Isn't that the theme of this blog? Carmelo's the perfect guy for it too, because he has a very worked-on, polished, rather technical playing style but an expressive image that is sort of ghetto.

You might also ask him about that ghetto tag he got. At Syracuse, he was seen as very cheerful and open, no dark shadows at all. Always struck me as rather racist what happened to his public image once he hit the NBA.

 

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