Carmelo Anthony succeeded in pulling his latest stunt the other night, even as he failed to pull his head out of his
Assassinating his coach's authority, Anthony, smack dab in the middle of a game against the Pacers, refused to sub out when he was called to the bench by George Karl.
That's right, he just looked over and sniffed.
The coach wanted him out, he wanted in.
There's a name for a player who behaves that way, but it is unprintable -- or is it? -- in this space. Let's just say Carmelo was acting like a Jack
Assaulting Karl's sanction as coach in that manner, in such a public setting, is what a lot of people hate about privileged pro athletes. Too often, they see the tail wagging the dog. They see prima donnas ruling the day. They see presumption instead of discipline and gratitude.
The Jazz, who play Carmelo and the Nuggets on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena, simply saw a play for power that would never occur on their club, not with Jerry Sloan in the captain's chair.
"There's always got to be an established respect for the coach," Matt Harpring said. "Without that, the inmates would be running the asylum. I guess you can't actually make a guy come off the floor. I don't know "
Harpring turned to veteran teammate Brevin Knight and asked: "What would you do?"
"If I'm in charge," said Knight, "you get your ass off the court."
Assuredly, that, too, is what Sloan would require.
For his part, Anthony later explained himself thusly:
"I didn't want to come out," he said. "If you look at it that deeply, then, yeah, I maybe was wrong. I should have come out of the game, but if you're a basketball player, you know how you feel when you get something going finally and you're about to sit, your competitiveness all comes out."
Karl suspended Anthony for a game, which he served in a loss to Detroit on Tuesday night. During a 20-minute meeting with the Nuggets coach, Anthony never apologized.
"Well, I mean, when somebody comes to sub you out, I guess you're supposed to go out," he said. " In my eyes, I thought the situation was minute."
Jazz players just laughed at the thought of guessing or supposing about following or not following an order like that from Sloan.
"I don't even want to know what would happen if anyone tried that with him," Kyle Korver said. "That only happens when someone thinks they're bigger than everyone and everything else. And that's not going to happen here."
"It wouldn't be pretty," said C.J. Miles, half-laughing, half-shuddering. "You either wouldn't play the rest of the year, or you'd get kicked off the team. And if you didn't come out, he'd probably go out and pull you off the floor."
Said Ronnie Brewer: "You don't really touch a subject like that here. There's too much respect for [Sloan], and for the game. You don't embarrass the coach like that. If you embarrass him, he'll embarrass you. There's too much character on this team for anybody to do that."
As they often do when he is asked about potential confrontational situations, Sloan's dark eyes went dead and the sides of his mouth curled up, a sort of maniacal look took over his countenance, when he considered what he would do if one of his players pulled an Anthony.
"Oh, he'd come out of the game all right," Sloan said. "I think I could get a guy out of a game if I had to. And if I couldn't, that's why they have security."
He said he understands and appreciates Anthony's desire to play, but he stressed that, ultimately, the coach should wield the hammer.
"There were times when Karl [Malone] didn't want to come out of games, but he always did," Sloan said. "These guys play and compete on a tremendous edge, and every once in a while something upsets them. But we would get it worked out."
"We'd come out," Miles said. "No doubt."
"Wheeeeewww," added Paul Millsap.
Anything else would be