New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) works against Milwaukee Bucks' Carlos Delfino (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
It was a magical night at the world's most famous arena.
The evening was packed with suspense, and heads were spinning from the get-go.
He scored a team high of 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 114-108 Knicks victory over the Bucks. It was a win before a raucous crowd, which serenaded the four-time NBA All-Star over and over with chants of "'Melo 'Melo."
Coach Mike D'Antoni offered up this quote when I asked him about 'Melo's performance.
"That's what he does. You drop him in any playground in the world and he'll put up 27 points and 10 rebounds. That's what he does for a living and he does it pretty well," D'Antoni said.
It was a whirlwind afternoon for Anthony, who was star of the show all day.
He received his No. 7 jersey from team owner James Dolan. And then he went out onto the sports world's greatest stage, and did what another iconic New York No. 7 -- Rod Gilbert -- used to do. He put on a show.
Said Carmelo: "The reaction was great. I felt great. I never experienced anything like that before. Just running out, the fans going crazy."
He added, "I'm just glad I got this game out of my system. These last two days have been crazy -- working on no sleep. Just the excitement of this whole thing going down, and to be able to come out and get this win tonight, that really meant a lot to me."
You see the guy gets it. He's talking about "team."
His coach will like that, and so will his teammates and the fans. And you know why?
There's no illusion to that sentiment. And it's coming from a guy who just created some magic in a building that hasn't seen much in a long, long time.