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Carmelo Anthony likes “level of appreciation” from Thunder fans

<> at Pepsi Center on November 9, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.

<> at Pepsi Center on November 9, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.

Matthew Stockman

Carmelo Anthony spent six-and-a-half years as a Knick, the focal point of a fan base that is loyal but smart and not going to give away their love and loyalty just because you wear blue and orange. You need to earn it.

Anthony certainly earned it at points but also had more than his share of flaws. Knicks fans understood that. He was not the savior of the franchise some projected.

Anthony is now in Oklahoma City, and the fawning fan response there is more to his liking, as he told Complex.

It’s just a greater level of appreciation here from an athletes’ standpoint, from a basketball standpoint. The fans are very appreciative of me coming here, of Paul coming here, and wanting to be a part of the Oklahoma City community. So from that standpoint, things are definitely going in the right direction. They’ve been every supportive of myself. On court is going to take care of itself....

It’s a small, intimate environment where the fans really get to know the players and the players get to know the fans, really embrace the fans. It’s a hand-to-hand situation out here.

Don’t make the leap to “Anthony didn’t like Knicks fans,” because that’s not what he said. They gave him a lot of appreciation in the past six years. Things are different now. There is a small-town feel to OKC that works for some players. Also, much like a college environment, they are going to support the player regardless of on-the-court issues. They want success, they see Anthony as a path to it.

Whether he is a path to it, or just a footnote on the Thunder’s trajectory, remains to be seen.