- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carmelo Anthony is the wannabe bad man from West Baltimore who was last seen backpedaling on the Madison Square Garden floor after sucker-punching Mardy Collins.

“Stop backpedaling” could be the title of the next underground DVD in which he appears, so named after his successful debut in the 2004 DVD called “Stop Snitching.”

The basic premise of “Stop Snitching” is not to finger the friendly neighborhood drug dealer who sometimes has to kill people.

If that is the principle, then we all should pack handguns and kill each other with impunity.

Maybe we should endeavor to become a snitch-free country and kill, kill, kill.

For now, nobody likes a snitch in Anthony’s old neighborhood, so aptly romanticized by the milquetoast gas bags who came up with “The Wire” on HBO. Theirs is a portrait of the Wild West in urban America, of desperados who wear baggy clothes instead of cowboy hats and boots, of pathologies that result in dying young.

The sight of Anthony backpedaling resurrected memories of Brendan Haywood doing likewise with Antonio Davis in hot pursuit in a preseason game involving the Wizards and Bulls in 2004.

To pick one over the other in the backpedaling event is difficult.

At least Haywood had a genuine tough guy after him.

The only person concerned with Anthony was Jared Jeffries, who was acting rabid after being known mostly as goofy in his four seasons with the Wizards.

True to form, Jeffries was unable to finish the play on Anthony.

This was mostly a G-rated brawl.

Other than Nate Robinson attempting to prove he is not a midget and Anthony backpedaling in extreme fear, most of the action was limited to the jostling of players with inadequate testosterone levels.

Robinson’s role in the fracas probably will be soon forgotten, if only because he does not have the circus-like appeal of Eddie Gaedel.

That leaves Anthony, the would-be basketball star stuck between the corporate world and the mythical streets of Baltimore.

Down goes Collins and there goes Anthony.

That is an apt summation, although down goes Collins does not have the same ring to it as “down goes Frazier.”

Perhaps Anthony felt naked without a “piece,” or just confused by his competing worlds, because you do not backpedal after cold-cocking someone who never saw the punch being delivered.

You do not act like a mediator one moment and then turn primitive the next.

That is so weak.

If you are going to be a bad man, then be a bad man, and let’s get it on big-time.

But don’t pretend to offer a hand and deliver a fist instead.

That is part of the street code of Baltimore?

That must be the wimp addendum.

Anthony ought to end the pretense.

He is not even a rapper who has to glorify the streets in order to make a living. He is a well-paid athlete who, like it or not, has millions of reasons to embrace the system. And that includes law officers, too.

If anarchy broke out across the country, Anthony and the rich would lose the most.

That is the lie they perpetuate in celebrating the anarchy of urban neighborhoods.

Anthony is in the corporate game now, which is a long way from keeping it real.

There is nothing real about pushing shoes in television commercials.

A slickly done commercial, by its nature, is manipulative, cut to sway the gullible masses.

Anthony has extended an apology crafted by one of his handlers after receiving a 15-game suspension.

This is the damage-control response to the suits who have invested in him.

Anthony is a mini-corporation, neither black nor white, just motivated by the green.

To keep it real in the world of commerce, Anthony has an image to uphold and overhead to meet.

He is a long way from the streets of Baltimore, and it is doubtful the streets he once knew would want him back in backpedaling mode.

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