Dominique Wilkins relates to Carmelo Anthony’s struggle: ‘Father Time don’t wait for no one’
Many had expected Carmelo Anthony to be reborn as the next Bob McAdoo during his tenure with the Houston Rockets, but it seems that after 10 games, that delusion has come to a train wreck end. Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins knows the transition from perennial scorer to bench cog is one harder than most think if would be.
“Father Time don’t wait for no one, man,” Wilkins told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “We try to fight it, but you just can’t fight it. The competitiveness kind of kicks in and keeps your mind thinking you can do it on that level. And that’s a great thing about being a great competitor. You’re not able to do it like you once were. But you can still be effective in other ways.”
Some others believe Anthony is merely being used as the easy scapegoat to hide bigger flaws on the Rockets roster, namely the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah A Moute — two capable three-and-D artists that are now in different teams.
“They are not playing Melo, period,” one NBA All-Star said. “He can still play.”
“Easy target. They’re using him as the scapegoat,” said another All-Star.
‘Nique went from being the Atlanta Hawks’ all-time leading scorer to a member of the bench in San Antonio, a drastic change he was forced to endure at the tail end of his career.
“He was itchy on that bench,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich recalled. “It was like he drank too much coffee or something. … But he was on that bench itching to get in the game. We tried to get him into a routine. We were looking for the early-Manu. Somebody off the bench to give us some juice. He scored his butt off at the end of his career. And he was still scoring like crazy.
“He was just unique, loved the game. He was like one of the throwbacks, the [George] Gervins and one of those guys. A scorer.”
Wilkins gave one last piece of advice in a tough transition, having walked a similar road to Anthony after scoring 20 or more points in 11 of his 12 seasons with the Hawks.
“When you get to a certain point in life, you have to accept that you’re not what you once were,” said Wilkins. “It is OK to be a role player, because what you are doing is help mentoring the young guys that are really trying to take your place.”
The former Slam Dunk champion admitted it’s easier said than done, given that the Rockets veteran has been hard-wired to be his team’s leading scorer from an early age, knowing nothing else.
“The stars have a hard time because they’re competitors,” said Wilkins. “Even when I retired, I wanted to come back and play. In your mind and your heart, it never leaves you. So as a competitor, it’s the nature of the beast. It’s who you are. Even today, I still think I can play. That’s just my mind talking. That’s the way we are.”
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