During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: Syracuse will retire Carmelo Anthony’s jersey on February 23 when the Orange host Georgetown at the Carrier Dome. Should Syracuse be retiring his jersey?
Two of our contributors, Edwin Brooks and Wes Cheng gave their thoughts:
Brooks: Retiring Carmelo’s jersey has other benefits
Should Syracuse retire Carmelo’s jersey? Probably not, but think about this: What other SU basketball player donated so much money that SU was able to build a practice facility that other programs are copying or attempting to top?
This honor has to do with two things. First, Melo led the 2003 SU team to the title. Second, he donated millions to SU that has helped it pull in a lot of top recruits, many of whom look up to Melo. An example that comes to mind is C.J. Fair, and he’s hardly the only one.
Finally, when SU brings Goodluck Okonoboh into the Dome for the Georgetown game, or a game next year, they can point up to the rafters and say, “We honor our greats,” and he will exactly know who number 15 is. Does anyone really think any kid playing HS ball with an eye on playing big time college ball has any idea who Roosevelt Bouie is?
I do agree that Moten, Louie, Bouie, GMac, and Warrick all should have their jerseys retired, and objectively, they should all be before one and done Carmelo. But like I said, this is about a lot more than just honoring a past great.
Cheng: Retiring jerseys should be based on playing career only
My answer depends on what criteria you use to retire a jersey. There are two schools of thought here: (1) You retire a jersey based on the player’s contributions to the program over a period of time that has been exemplary; or (2) You retire a jersey because of the impact he has had on the program not only on the court, but in other walks of life.
If you judge it by standard No. 1, Anthony qualifies after leading Syracuse to its only National Championship and being named an All-American. But a group of other players that Syracuse has had during and before his time should get the nod, as well. Guys like Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara who were a big part of that 2002-03 team played all four years and left a larger statistical mark on the program. Lawrence Moten and John Wallace also come to mind as guys who had standout SU careers. I have no problem retiring Carmelo’s jersey under this standard, but if you do, then there should be a larger group that follows him.
Judged by the second standard, it’s a no brainer. Outside of David Bing, no Syracuse player has had the success at the NBA level that Carmelo Anthony has had. He’s also donated a lot to the University, and has an entire facility named after him. This is also clearly going to be used as a marketing and recruiting tool, but under this standard, he, and only he, qualifies.
Personally, I’m more inclined to use the first standard. I really do think retiring jerseys should be reserved for what you did while wearing the jersey. Carmelo Anthony has won Olympic medals and been on NBA All-Star teams, but he wasn’t playing for Syracuse when he did that.