GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Probably no one will enjoy next week's All-Star break more than Carmelo Anthony.
And it's not just because he needs to get away from the reality of the Knicks' regular season, the looming possibility of being a 10-win team well past the midpoint of the season.
As the only starting player from either New York team, Anthony is the de facto master of ceremonies for the big weekend that opens a week from Friday at Madison Square Garden and runs through Sunday. And he is looking forward to the party.
On Thursday, it was announced that Anthony will be a co-coach with director/Knicks super fan Spike Lee in next Friday night's celebrity game against a team coached by ESPN's Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg. For the rest of the week, he said he will enjoy showing his fellow All-Stars everything the city has to offer.
"I think it will create some great momentum here in the city just by having All-Star weekend in New York," Anthony said. "The energy that will be surrounding the city kind of starting on Monday, Tuesday, all through the week. And just for me to kind of be that ambassador for the city for the weekend, that means a lot. That I can represent New York here in my hometown means a lot. I can kind of welcome everybody here to have a good time for the weekend."
Anthony doesn't believe the Knicks having one of their worst seasons in franchise history takes anything away from the All-Star weekend.
"Nah, I mean at the end of the day it's still an achievement, still an accomplishment," he said. "I can't go into that weekend thinking about what we've been going through in our regular season with the Knicks. It's just a moment to kind of get away from that for a minute and just enjoy the weekend."
Of course, Knicks fans hope he's not the only one enjoying the weekend. With the city hosting the game's biggest stars, there is hope that it will make a big impression on some who will become free agents in the near future. Knicks team president Phil Jackson could have as much as $30 million and a high lottery pick to play with this summer.
Last year, Anthony was a free agent and whether he would come back to the Knicks was the talk of the All-Star Game. This year, he is looking forward to someone else being the focus.
"Now, it's my turn," Anthony said of grilling other players about where they are going to play next season. "Now, it's my turn to extend the favor."
Anthony said most of the top players are pretty familiar with the city and all it can offer. He believes that the Garden itself, however, can be a big draw.
"The real effect that they will feel will be during the game here at the Garden, kind of seeing what the Garden has to offer, not just for New York Knicks but for big events overall," he said. "So the Garden will be lit up, it will be bright. There will be a lot of people in there. It will be loud and it will be exciting. So for other players to see that, I am pretty sure that will be impressive."
Perhaps the most impressive pro basketball game at Madison Square Garden this season.