This is the Morning Win, by Andy Nesbitt.
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If you’ve ever suddenly been told by a boss that your services were no longer needed and that you were getting laid off then you’re familiar with the emotions that follow – it likely starts with shock and sadness, continues with some self doubt as you try to collect the pieces and figure out your next career move, and possibly leads to some ugly moments of self destruction.
It’s just not a very fun thing to go through, no matter who you are.
Which makes Carmelo Anthony’s return to the NBA on Tuesday night all the more impressive and inspiring. Now, I get it – Melo doesn’t need any more money as he’s set for life financially thanks to what he’s done during his Hall of Fame career.
But this whole thing isn’t about money.
It must have felt really freakin’ good for him when he stepped on a NBA floor again and quickly hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter of the Trail Blazers’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
It was inspiring because just over a year ago he was let go by the Rockets after just 10 games. His boss called him in and told him to pack his stuff, his services were no longer needed in Houston and his NBA career was suddenly in jeopardy of being over.
It’s something that happens all the time in sports and in life, but that doesn’t mean the sting that comes with it doesn’t exist.
Melo then had to sit out the rest of the year as not one team made a move on a veteran player who has always been known to get his points, but has also been a bit of a liability on the defensive end of the floor.
On a human level, Melo had to deal with something that anyone who has been laid off before has had to go through – you wonder if the career you have chosen to that point has suddenly passed you by. The self doubts that all the work that you’ve done was fine and all, but now nobody else needs you to do it for them. That world keeps spinning around but there you are on on the outside looking in, wondering if you’ll ever get back to doing what you love again. That’s not a fun way to spend your days and nights.
Melo spoke about being cut from the Rockets during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take in August. He said: “That was an ego hit. That was a pride hit. I started questioning myself after that.”.
Which probably hits home for you if you’ve ever lost your job. Again, he has millions of dollars in the bank. He’ll be fine. But those millions aren’t gonna be there to give you a pep talk when you’re sitting up late at night wondering if this game or that career has passed you by.
The way Melo handled it all was was a lesson in class. He didn’t blast anybody for not being able to get work. He didn’t hide – he was seen sitting courtside in Brooklyn last April to watch his friend, Dwyane Wade, play in the final game of his legendary career. And Melo kept working out because in order to be ready you need to stay ready.
Last week he got the call from the Trail Blazers… And he was ready. Melo started Tuesday night’s game and went for 10 points in 24 minutes. His plus/minus was -20, which is far from great and will lead to those who question his defense to puff out their chests and yell, “See, he’s not worth it!”.
But there he was Tuesday night playing in a NBA game, something he probably took for granted during his previous playing days – which would be totally natural and normal. Everything from walking into the stadium to walking out to the opening tip to high-fiving a teammate after a scoring bucket must have been incredible.
After the game he told ESPN what stuck out to him most about the day and is first game back:.
“Just being back out there with the guys again. I think most of all the routine – team bus, team lunch, being around the guys in the locker room – just the routine I’ve been used to for 17 years now … So getting back into that. As far as the game goes, it felt good to be back out there.”.
Is Melo’s stay in Portland going to be a long one? Who knows at this point, really?
But what I do know is the way he handled the past 376 days of his life was pretty darn impressive and that it was cool to see Melo back out there doing his thing once again, no matter the results.
Tuesday’s biggest winner: Not the Dallas Mavericks!
The Dallas Mavericks introduced the world to their new City Edition uniforms on Tuesday and it did not go well for them on social media, as fans tended not to like these cartoon-like uniforms. They will be worn 22 times this year, so get used to them!
Quick hits: Ravens D is legit… Calm down, NHL fans… Brady likes AB’s Instagram post… And more!
– Our Steven Ruiz did a great job of explaining how the Baltimore Ravens fixed their defense on the fly this season and are now a dominant team because of it.
– Our Hemal Jhaveri explains why everyone is overreacting to a spitting incident in the NHL.
– Tom Brady liked Antonio Brown’s apology post on Instagram. Which led to speculation.
– Stephen A. Smith fired back at critics of his takes on Colin Kaepernick, saying: “I’m a black man, you idiots.”.
(Follow me on Twitter at @anezbitt. It might change your life. Just don’t tell me about your fantasy team.).