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Carmelo Anthony is on record in insisting he would never, ever again veer into the fast and loose lanes of NBA free agency, but if he were to, the Atlanta Hawks would almost certainly face unmovable roadblocks.
And in Melo’s mind, the Hawks have only themselves to blame for the obstacles. In the wake of the organization’s ongoing race related scandal where majority team owner Bruce Levenson and GM Danny Ferry both took shots at Luol Deng over the veteran forward “having some African in him,” the league’s No. 2 overall scorer last year and easily one of the most prolific of his era at just 30-years-old is adamant in all but expressing he’d just as soon hang up his sneakers than take a spot in the Hawks dysfunctional organization.
“There ain’t nobody who would want to go there,” Anthony told ESPN. “At the end of the day, I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint. Atlanta is a great city, a great market, great people, great atmosphere. But as far as the comments that were made, I think it was uncalled for. From an owner, from a GM, those are not things you play with.”
And as a result, the Hawks will be forced to play without the superstar like talents of the Carmelo Anthony’s of the world for all the foreseeable future. The words Levenson and Ferry freely shared from a scouting report about Deng seem to suggest the veteran forward is viewed by an undocumented few from his past as something of a “con man,” but if they’re also truly the sentiments felt by top members of the Hawks brass at a time when they were recruiting him to be a center-piece of their organization you tell me who really rates as the two-faced one.
Feigning blissful ignorance as he has or, more specifically, that he was only reading the contents of a report he was given when he uttered his disparaging words about Deng, the bottom-line is Ferry dared to do so and seemed to be quite comfortable in doing it, even as shocked and appalled colleagues “gasped and made references to Donald Sterling,” and the somewhat similar racially-charged meltdown that cost him his L.A. Clippers franchise. The Hawks have since announced Levenson will be selling his shares in the team and that Ferry has apologized for his role in drama and is now taking a leave of absence to sort through it all and hopefully remedy himself.
“I realize that my words may ring hollow now and my future actions must speak for me,” he said. “I will maximize my time during this leave to meet with community leaders and further educate myself and others on the extremely sensitive issues surrounding race, diversity, and inclusion. I will find a way to make a positive difference in this area.”
But might it all be too little too late, particularly among those he would most seem to be trying to impress?
“As a player, as an athlete, we’re looking for a job, we’re trying to find a place where we can move our family, we can make our family comfortable, where we can be comfortable in a comfortable environment,” Anthony said. “But those comments right there, we would never look at playing there. I’m speaking on behalf of all athletes. We would never look at a situation like that, I don’t care what it is.”
Among the most prominent names most mentioned as potential buyers of the franchise is Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, a 16-year NBA veteran who, far and away, spent his best seasons in the ATL. Anthony concedes something along those lines could be a start, but warns it would be only that.
“It’s going to take a collective effort,” he added. “That’s not going to change overnight. I don’t think that just happened overnight. That’s been an accumulation over the past couple years. A lot of people think that it just happened, but it’s been going on for the past two or three years now.”
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