Carmelo Anthony is a future NBA Hall of Famer, even if he doesn't win an NBA title.

The nine-time NBA All-Star and Knicks marquee came to the rescue to lift the team in the closing minute-and-a-half to help USA survive the scare against Serbia on Friday night, and once again proved himself to be the greatest Team USA basketball player in history. But in an interview with ESPN's Marc Stein before the game, Melo was asked about the prospect of being the first Team USA ever to win three gold medals, yet never having an NBA title under his belt. He stated that he would be quite satisfied with the outcome of his career, regardless if he never nabbed an NBA championship ring:

“Most athletes don't have an opportunity to say that they won a gold medal, better yet three gold medals. I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I've given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals.

“I can look back on it when my career is over -- if I don't have an NBA championship ring -- and say I had a great career.”

You can imagine that this would make most Knick fans blow a gasket upon reading that statement.  Especially, diehard Knick fan and New York City native Stephen A. Smith. ESPN's most incendiary critic commented on Friday with an attack on Anthony for his statement in a First Take video that Smith tweeted below:

In response, Melo posted a pic on Instagram to address "critic(s)" for what he said about giving the game of basketball his all, and coming up short of hoisting a banner in Madison Square Garden. He even wrote it in the context of a brief exchange between him and his longtime homie—also former USA basketball teammate—LeBron James, who is pictured with him in the post below holding him back from responding to the vitriol of his critics:

 

Who is "they?" Stephen A. Smith in the third person? Or internet trolls who believe he's given up on the Knicks chances of being a championship contender? Good questions to be answered, but Me7o is going to remain just that until he retires.

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.