Carmelo Anthony has only been playing for the Thunder for about 10 days now. But to hear him tell it, he’s already way happier playing in Oklahoma City than he ever was playing for the Knicks.
On Monday, Carmelo—who is a three-time Olympic gold medalist—told reporters that playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George on the Thunder feels a little bit like playing alongside his fellow Olympians as part of Team USA. And while explaining why that is, he managed to take a shot at the Knicks and the talent, or lack thereof, that he was surrounded with when he played in New York City.
"Olympic Melo connotation comes into play [where] I’m surrounded by great players," he said, according to the New York Post. "I try to get where the game is easier for myself, easier for everybody else. That’s where I can come in and not have to do too much and bring my game and help me blend with other guys. I’ve always been a product of my environment. Whatever the environment wants from me, that’s what I give my environment. This environment is different, reminds me of being around Olympic teams, those great teams."
Elsewhere, Carmelo also spoke about how his move to the Thunder has rejuvenated him and put some energy back into his game. It sounds like playing for the Knicks was dragging him down and sucking a lot of the fun out of basketball for him, which isn’t going to be a problem now that he’s in OKC.
"I’m like born again a little bit," he said. "I feel like I’m in college again. My second college campus being around in a city with a college feel. The energy and joy is back with the game of basketball. I can feel it when I wake up. That energy is different. I think you’ll see something special."
Can you blame Carmelo for being this happy? After what he endured in NYC over the last few years, the idea of going into a season with a championship being a realistic goal has to feel great. And while the Knicks players who played with him probably won’t be thrilled to hear what he had to say about his time with the team, it’s hard to argue with the things he said and it’ll be interesting to see what he looks like once he starts taking the court for the Thunder on a nightly basis.