A couple of days ago, Phil Jackson took yet another pointed shot at Carmelo Anthony and his perceived lack of leadership. It's not the first time that Jackson has taken swipe at Carmelo and probably won't be the last given their acrimonious tenure together.
Parsing through the agendas has been difficult as Phil Jackson's roster building decisions were a significant reason for the Knicks lackluster performance. Yet he has routinely tried to place blame on others, with Anthony being the prime target.
Now Iman Shumpert has decided to insert himself and stand up for his former teammate, discrediting Jackson’s words without hesitation:
“Melo was one of those guys that I’ve never felt so safe [with]. As the games went on, I started realizing this dude will really take the blame for everything,” Shumpert said on ESPN’s The Jump.
Shumpert went on to add that Carmelo didn’t mind taking the blame for the rest of his teammates because he knew he could handle it, even when he wasn’t the guy to blame for it:
“There were times where I was like, ‘Why don’t you just say what happened? Why are you taking the bullets? Maybe they’ll play harder, what are you talking about bro? You just gave me everything you got tonight.‘ He knows imma be fair; I got a lot of mouth. Imma’ say what I gotta say. He would just [say] ‘That’s not on me to do that to that man.‘ He always thought about ‘Am I taking food out of somebody’s mouth by saying that? I know I can take everything, harbor it, and I can make stuff happen,” Shumpert added.
At the end of the day, people will always judge Anthony for not winning an NBA championship in his prime. But his teammates always seemed to have his back and he is generally revered across the league.