A couple of days ago, Phil Jackson took yet another shot at Carmelo Anthony, claiming that he wasn't much of a leader and that he was intimidating to the rest of the staff when he was in charge of the New York Knicks:
“Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don’t think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player. And I think that the strength of his personality was intimidating to some of the coaches that were asked to coach the team. And so there wasn’t this compliance that has to happen between players and coaches. And as much I tried to interject my own beliefs, I don’t think you’re close enough to the ground in that situation to really be effective in dictating how things are going to be done," Jackson said on the Curious Leader podcast.
That's not the first time that Jackson has taken swipe at Carmelo Anthony. He was responsible for many of the narratives against him in New York, and his former teammate Iman Shumpert just couldn't take it anymore. That's why he stood up for his friend and discredited Jackson's words without hesitation:
“Melo was one of those guys that I’ve never felt so safe [with]. As the games went on, I started realizing this dude will really take the blame for everything," Shumpert said on ESPN's The Jump.
Shumpert went on to add that Carmelo didn't mind taking the blame for the rest of his teammates because he knew he could handle it, even when he wasn't the guy to blame for it:
“There were times where I was like, ‘Why don’t you just say what happened? Why are you taking the bullets? Maybe they’ll play harder, what are you talking about bro? You just gave me everything you got tonight.‘ He knows imma be fair; I got a lot of mouth. Imma’ say what I gotta say. He would just [say] ‘That’s not on me to do that to that man.‘ He always thought about ‘Am I taking food out of somebody’s mouth by saying that? I know I can take everything, harbor it, and I can make stuff happen," Shumpert added.
At the end of the day, people will always judge Carmelo for not winning an NBA championship in his prime and for the never-ending comparisons to LeBron James. But Shumpert wants to know that, at least when it comes to leading and being a good teammate, Melo will always be one of the best ever.