‘Melo makes an unfortunate comparison to Muhammad Ali when discussing NBA players and their right to speak openly during the lockout. From NBA.com: “[Carmelo] Anthony said Sunday that there is no problem with communication between the union and players. He just doesn’t see a regular role for the star players. ‘We done tried it,’ Anthony said. ‘You saw me at a lot of meetings. You see CP. You saw ‘Bron at a couple of meetings. But right now, the same thing just keeps going back and forth, so we don’t know how powerful we are at this moment. We’ll just see what happens. We support Billy 100 percent; we support D-Fish 100 percent. My main thing is that we’ve just got to stick together. As players, we’re sticking together. And in the meantime, keep doing stuff like this. Keep having basketball games, keep playing, keep giving the fans what they want. It’s not everything they want, because they want a season. But, hey, it’s something.’ It was shortly after that that my man Michael Tillery (who, by the way, disagrees with me that the stars couldn’t put their own run together), from the terrific website The Starting Five, asked Anthony why the star players don’t speak out like the NFL’s players did during the NFL lockout. ‘We’re not allowed,’ Anthony said. ‘I mean, everybody has their own opinion. You hear people talk here and there. But nobody comes out and says what they really want to say. That’s just the society we live in.’ He laughed a little. And, then: ‘Athletes today are scared to make Muhammad Ali-type statements.’ Say what? Forget for a second that Ali got in trouble (with some) for his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, for refusing induction into the Army and for not only becoming a Muslim, but a Muslim who supported the controversial teaching of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad until Muhammad’s death in 1975. Kind of big things. And by comparison, Anthony was asked about speaking up on a labor dispute involving millionaire athletes and billionaire owners. Kind of little things, in the grand scheme. What on earth could be controversial about a star player expressing his opinion, whatever it is, on a lockout that directly involved him, his livelihood and his family’s future? Does anyone really think Nike or Converse or McDonald’s or any of the dozens of corporate partners that love them some James and ‘Melo are going to end their associations with the very guys that make them millions? I had to follow up. Why would Anthony believe that he or other prominent athletes couldn’t speak their minds? ‘I don’t know, man,’ he said. ‘I really can’t answer that question. I don’t know. But they can’t really say what they want to say.’”