You've seen it. We've seen it. He's seen it. And all of us have paid attention to it. How can we not? How can Melo not? How can ANYONE watch Nike Basketball's new "LeBron Rise" commercial and not think about what's going to happen to Carmelo Anthony in the next eight months or so.
Because where Melo is right now is pretty much where LeBron was this time a year ago.
So let's try to get inside Melo's head. Let's do a John Malkovich and BE Melo. And let's use LeBron's look-back, second-guessing ad to help us with his thinking.
Let's imagine Melo (that's us now; are you with me?) has just walked into the living room from the bedroom, Jordan signature house slippers on. Kiyan, 3, has followed us in. We plop down on the sofa. Grab the remote. Turn on the television. As we flip through the channels, the LeBron commercial pops on the screen. As we watch, our mind -- MELO'S mind -- drifts. Inward.
What should I do?
The Nets? Do I really want to go there? Not sure me and Devin Harris are going to be enough to win rings. But the owner's got dough. Me and "D" could be the cornerstones of something big! Plus, Hov's [Jay-Z] there and Spike … Spike is killin' me. Why did he tell the Post that I'll be with the Knicks? I gotta call him.
Should I admit that I've made mistakes?
I never said I wanted to be traded, never said I wanted out. All I said was, "I'm keeping my options open," and told Marc Spears the other day that it was "time for a change." I also said, in basically the same sentence, "I feel like my time is now to make a decision if I want to leave or if I want to stay." Stay! No one talks about that part. D-Wade didn't sign an extension last year, and he stayed.
Something told me I shoulda gone along with D-Wade, LeBron and Chris when they made that pact during the Olympics. If I'd just joined in then, I wouldn't be here now struggling with this decision. I knew it was going to be big, but not outta control like this. It's hard trying to play ball with all of this drama going on.
Should I remind you I've done this before? Should I give you a history lesson?
E'r'one knows. They know.
What should I do? Should I tell you how much fun we had?
With Chauncey. I can't just leave him here like that. This cat saved my career. Nothing against A.I., but "Smooth" got me here. He took us there. Never met a dude like him before. They keep telling me, "If you get a chance to play with a great point guard, stay with him as long as you can. Because once they are gone, your game's gonna change forever."
But he knows this is a business. He understands that. So he knows nothing I do is personal against him. But still. Here's my thing: Would he do the same to me if the situation were flipped? Chauncey's a pretty loyal dude, so I don't know. Free agency makes a person do strange things. Act outta character or expose your true character.
I know this trading deadline is lurking, and the club is going to want to do something before it can't do nothin'. The way we're playing so far, the way we look right now, we're in a better position to win one than we've ever been. And that's with Kenyon down, "Bird" down, without J.R. finding his groove yet, Afflalo getting fully acclimated and Harrington getting used to the offense. And Coach hasn't even gotten totally comfortable being back.
But how long is he going to be here? That's the question that bothers me. I don't want to sign a six-year deal and two years in Coach Karl gets sick again or decides to retire. And Chauncey's not going to be here for six more years, either. How can I sign a long-term deal or make a commitment with them knowing that, in a few years, I might be without the two most important people to this franchise?
Should I really believe I ruined my legacy?
Never that. My legacy is pretty much what it is. There's only two other players in the league that I could go play with that would make it look like I needed them to help me: That's Kobe and Durant. And neither one of those moves to either of those teams is happenin'.
What should I do? Should I have my tattoo removed?
Wanna see my shiny new shoes? Should I just sell shoes?
The M7s hit stores on Nov. 20. I should get that on a shirt.
Or should I tell you I am not a role model?
I wonder what Barkley, Magic and them guys are going to say about me if I leave? I respect those guys, but they went all-in on LeBron. That was kinda foul.
Seriously, what should I do? Should I tell you I'm a championship chaser? That I did it for the money? Rings?
Chicago is a good look. A really good look. But after watching the Bulls, I'm not sure they really need me. Pooh dropped 39 on Detroit; and the next game, Lu dropped 40 on the Blazers. They already got scoring. And Booz isn't even in the lineup yet. He's good for another 20 a night. I'm not sure they really need me. Not for what I do. Unless they get rid of Luol, I can't see where I'd fit. But at the same time, like Booz said, if I go there, we'd easily be the best starting five in the league. And with Coach Tibs there, I'd definitely get a ring or two. Or three. We'd be the only team year after year that would stop Miami from becoming a dynasty.
But MJ keeps saying don't play for them. He keeps saying the organization is wack. And Mike's my man; he should know. I know he's got stories about that Reinsdorf dude who owns them. But damn! Playing with Pooh has got to be like playing with the new Chauncey. How can I pass that up?
Should I accept my role? As a villain?
If I leave now, I'm the bad guy. If I leave later, I'm the bad guy. If I get traded, something I can't control, I'm going to be the bad guy. I'm a villain already, and I haven't even done anything.
Maybe I should just disappear.
Yeah, do a Sprewell. Vanish. Stay home and play NBA 2K11 all day. Hold up, I need some type of security in case this lockout actually happens. I'd look like a fool being the only one not getting paid because I won't sign an extension with either the Nuggets or the new team I go to. Where's Billy Hunter's number?
Should I stop listening to my friends? They're my friends.
Better listen to my wife, too.
Should I try acting?
Is that Don Johnson now, or did they digitally drop LeBron in that shot? I need to ask him. That was kinda hot. Oh, here's my part: Should I be writing this down? I really shoulda been on "The Wire."
Should I make you laugh? Should I read you a soulful poem?
"Way down in the jungle deep … "(Laugh)
Should we just clear the deck and start over?
Start over? I'm better off going to the Knicks. I need to call Amar'e, anyway. See what's really going on. I was thinking that the Spurs were going to part with Tony Parker and go with George Hill at point and, in the process, the Knicks were going to make a move to get TP there before the trading deadline, and that's when I was going to make a decision on going to N.Y.
But the Spurs just signed TP to that extension, so I guess he's not going anywhere. Which means I've got to wait two more years before CP3 comes to New York. That'll give LeBron and them a three-year head start on us. I'm not sure that works for me.
I'd do NY, but I need someone to go there with me right now. Maybe I need to wait until the season's over and see who might be available to come there with me. See just what the Knicks are willing to spend. See how serious they are about trying to win.
What should I do?
I need to keep it 100; I need to just wait. I need to play out this season, nix all trade requests, see where I can take the Nuggets and see what my best option is once the season is over. That'll be the smartest thing to do. The least I could do is help them win a chip this year. And if I decide to leave, do it with dignity. I realize this is a business, but it's a business that can go two ways.
Should I be who you want me to be?
Hell, yeah. If I learned anything from watching what happened to you, LeBron, this summer, it's that people can get really sensitive when it comes to how you treat people. Even in business. Especially when the franchise plays the victim. And the media will turn on you. You warned me about this, Bron. If the public thinks I dogged Denver or "played" them in any way -- even if I didn't -- it's going to come back and haunt me. If I lose a few dollars in the end, so what? I'll make up for it in peace of mind. Lesson learned. I gotta be smart about this one. Because, next year, I don't want to be doing this same commercial.
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.