The Devil Walks Among Us, and His Name is Greg Anthony
Here’s what you have to love about the Knicks: The regular season has yet to start and the franchise is already producing entertainment at an extremely high level. And it’s not just limited to the broadcast booth, where Walt Frazier recently created what must have been an unpleasant conversation between Malik Rose and his new wife, but it has also extended (not surprisingly) to the sideline, where Isiah Thomas has begun throwing verbal daggers like that tiny kid/little man in Starsky and Hutch.
Isiah’s target? Former Knick and current ESPN analyst Greg Anthony, who ripped Isiah (rightfully so in most of our minds) for his then-preposterous selection of Renaldo Balkman with the #20 pick of this year’s draft. But now that Balkman has legitimately flashed some skills this preseason, Isiah has come out guns blazing, letting loose several unexpected remarks in his quest to smear Greg Anthony’s name. Consider some of Isiah’s comments to the press (excerpted from a recent SI.com article):
“I’m just glad that all of New York doesn’t think like Greg Anthony.”
This seems a little extreme – an indictment of the man’s entire thought process and viewpoint based on one statement. (And for the record, I’m pretty sure most of New York did think like Greg Anthony when that pick was first announced.)
“Greg Anthony should never be in a position to question myself on anything about basketball. I do remember the kind of player he was. I’ll leave it at that.”
Interesting. Now we’ve moved on into vague accusations alleging that Greg Anthony was a cheater or a dirty player who somehow lacked integrity, yet there’s really no proof to back it up.
“The things he said on draft night…I thought he was way way way out of bounds.”
One of the few instances in which Isiah is actually just simply stating an opinion. Can’t really call him out on this one, even if I do disagree with the statement.
“…for a guy who claims to have been a Knick, to treat the Knicks the way he treated us that night…I know a Piston would never do that. A Celtic would never do that. A Laker would never do that.”
This is great, because it’s where we really begin to see how Isiah is skewing the truth. Note the use of the phrase “claims to have been a Knick,” as if Greg Anthony, in some kind of delusional mind state, thinks he played for the Knicks when actually, in Isiah’s reality, he did not.
And from the absurd, Isiah seamlessly transitions to the personal. When reporters inquired about the team’s awful season last year, Isiah replied,
“We were all in a funk last year…Greg Anthony was in a funk.”
So, according to Isiah, Greg Anthony didn’t just make a comment about a draft pick, he legitimately had a bad year because he made that comment. And if you read into this quote a little closer, somehow Anthony’s bad year may have been connected to the Knicks’ struggles. In fact, if you want to reach a little further (which I do), you could infer that Anthony may have even been a cause of the Knicks struggles. Very serious stuff.
Then, asked by reporters about the prospect of Balkman guarding some of the league’s elite players, Isiah responded,
“Wait a minute, hold on now…you can run him out there but he’ll probably get stepped on a little bit…Unlike Greg Anthony, I do have respect for others.”
So now Isiah has made Greg Anthony’s disagreement with the pick synonymous with a great disrespect for his fellow humans.
Do you see what Isiah’s done here? He’s taken the smallest thing and through a series of comments has subtly levied some rather serious accusations at a man’s character. With a series of carefully-chosen words, he has made Greg Anthony out to be some kind of monster.
And with that in mind, I decided to take the logical next step, searching far and wide for the words that Isiah most likely would have said about his newfound arch-nemesis if he only could have thought of them himself:
“There is an idea of a Greg Anthony; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real him: only an entity, something illusory. And though he can hide his cold gaze, and you can shake his hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense your lifestyles are probably comparable…he simply is not there.”
“Do not touch the glass. Do not approach the glass. You pass him nothing but soft paper – no pencils, no pens. No paper clips or staples in his paper. Use the sliding food carrier only, no exceptions. If he attempts to pass you anything, do not accept it. Do you understand?”
“In a way, each of us has a Greg Anthony to face. For some, shyness might be their Greg Anthony. For others, a lack of education might be their Greg Anthony. For us, Greg Anthony is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Isiah Thomas, the people of New York can conquer their own personal Greg Anthony, who also happens to be the actual Greg Anthony!”“Who is Greg Anthony? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Greg Anthony. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And poof. Just like that, he’s gone.”