|06-25-2008, 04:55 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hulaville and Sedona
Kizla on Marshall - Melo troubles
Young stars share number and tendency for turmoil
By Mark Kiszla
The Denver Post
BRANDON MARSHALL: Broncos need wide receiver to catch up in maturity and drop his rap sheet (Getty Images file)
Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Marshall could own this sports town, if only Denver does not disown these two young turks before they get their acts together.
The Broncos need Marshall almost as much as the Nuggets depend on Melo.
But will they be known as playmakers?
If you're asking me, Anthony is a winner, with the NCAA championship ring to prove it, but in need of strong coaching to get this all-star forward back on track.
Marshall, however, displays tendencies of a coach-killer that should make Mike Shanahan wonder if the Broncos' renewed emphasis on character can survive the turmoil that seems to shadow their gifted young receiver.
At age 24, Melo sinks big baskets but has driven the Nuggets to distraction with a history that includes everything from dumb suspensions from NBA games to his infamous cameo role in a stop-snitching video.
At age 24, Marshall catches touchdown passes but owns a rap sheet as long as the bloody arm he rammed through a television screen after wrestling with a family member or slipping on a McDonald's wrapper, depending on which story you believe.
No longer kids, Marshall and Melo need to act like professionals rather than be a constant source of pain to their employers.
It's impossible, of course, to reduce the complex emotions inside a young athlete to simple statements that define his true spirit.
But it was revealing how Anthony and Marshall dealt with their toughest defeats of the past year.
After being blown out 102-84 at home by the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs, Anthony got angry, moping, "We quit. Everybody. From the coaches to the players, we quit." Although the words were ill-timed, Melo squarely put the blame on himself and fellow Nuggets who stank up the joint.
After spectators streamed out of Invesco Field during the fourth quarter of a humiliating 41-3 beat-down from San Diego, Marshall took his frustration out on paying customers with this rip job: "If
CARMELO ANTHONY: Nuggets need Melo to choose winning over whining, attraction over distraction
you're going to be a Broncos fan, be a Broncos fan. Don't boo us when we're down. That's bandwagon." It was also shirking responsibility for lost faith by fans.
And want to know why Marshall seems to pose a more dangerous risk for the Broncos than Anthony presents for the Nuggets, when front office executive Rex Chapman assures Melo that he won't be traded from Denver?
Most of Anthony's missteps away from the court, like when he insisted a friend left that marijuana in his backpack (honest, dude!), sound like a goofy, immature giggle from "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle."
But violence seems to stalk Marshall in locations across the country, especially if you give credence to former teammate Javon Walker's claim the murder of Darrent Williams was sparked from a confrontation that began when Marshall sprayed champagne on bar patrons at a New Year's Eve party.
Check your scorecards.
For the local NFL and NBA franchises, all the big dreams and worst fears begin and end with the No. 15 stitched on the jerseys worn by Anthony and Marshall.
In an era when a conversation with LeBron James too often plays like a recorded message from his corporate sponsors, Anthony regularly opens his heart and bares his soul, traits that are easy to love.
But on the eve of pleading down a drunken-driving charge, it was not especially smart for Melo to complain: "As far as being more mature, how can somebody say that? I don't understand when they say that. What can I
Share Your Analysis
Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla fields your feedback. Look for it in Kickin' It With Kiz every Saturday.
do?" The whining overshadowed his commitment to get actively involved in the Colorado State Patrol's "Alive at 25" program.
Late in 2007, when I suggested Marshall had flirted with danger too often since the murder of a teammate, the irked player abruptly stopped in the dressing room after a loss and declared he did not want to hear it.
So here's hoping Marshall began listening months later, when quarterback Jay Cutler bravely warned his primary passing target: "Brandon, they're going to quit giving you chances and you're going to have to go somewhere else. And that's going to be a shame."
Maybe Calvin Andrews, the agent for Anthony, gave the most priceless advice to any athlete dogged by controversy.
"When everybody's under the microscope," Andrews said, "everybody's got to step up and take a little ownership for the problem."
Denver is a sports town with a big heart. Most fans are willing to forgive and forget almost any indiscretion, so long as Melo and Marshall give this city new reasons to cheer.
So give us big shots, not mug shots.
More touchdowns, fewer letdowns.
Is that too much to ask?