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Carmelo and Willian, a Pair of Aging Stars That Are Finally Being Appreciated

Carmelo Anthony will always be a Syracuse legend, has a number retired in the Dome, a practice facility named after him, and will land near the top of the SU 100 list. He has been infinitely frustrating for many NBA fans, as his pro career never materialized like so many expected. But now inside the bubble it appears there’s a realization of his wonderful basketball journey, as the Blazers are one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA.

The same might be said about Brazilian soccer star Willian, who is wrapping up a rollercoaster career at Chelsea. He is most likely to join Arsenal and enter a three-year contract after huge expectations when he entered the Premier League. At 32-years old Willian has had quite the soccer journey, perhaps not what some imagined, but still amazing nonetheless. He and Melo have plenty in common.

Soccer is more popular than ever in this country, just look at Leo Messi and Barcelona’s ratings for their Champions League match last weekend. If you are a soccer fan, then you can watch the matches on the internet. It is as simple as shopping for clothes or ordering a vape stick from smokingthings.com. If you are a basketball fan internationally, it’s easier than ever to watch the NBA. Just pick up your phone and you can dial up highlights of Carmelo and others. Melo has become hugely popular overseas, and maybe without the expectations that came with the American spotlight his career can be appreciated more.

After seven long years of journey, Willian is finally leaving Stamford Bridge as his contract has come to an end. The player desires a three year deal from Chelsea. However, the team is willing to extend their contract only for two years. Sound familiar? He had some wonderful moments with Chelsea, but was also seen as part of the reason they came up short in many big matches.

Willian, in his open letter, has confirmed fans that he is exiting Chelsea. One could imagine an open letter from Melo whenever he decides to hang them up. His departure from the Knicks was awkward, and at some time he’ll have gratitude around his retirement.

Willian writes that these seven years was a wonderful experience for him. It was in August 2013 when he had first received the offer from Chelsea. That was the moment when he realized that his future lies with them and that is where he has to play. Much like Carmelo who thought the Big Apple was his destiny. It didn’t quite work out. Going back to the Empire State after growing roots there was supposed to be the perfect chapter.

Willian also wrote that joining Chelsea was one of the best decisions of his life. He has faced both happy and sad times with the team and learned a lot of things with them. Winning trophies for the team was a wonderful feeling. Carmelo didn’t win NBA trophies, although he collected All Star appearances and gold medals with Team USA.

For Willian, apart from the trophies and winnings, he also discovered himself. He has grown a great deal both as a player and as a person. He cherishes every moment spent with the team. You get the feeling Carmelo feels the same way.

Every training session and game taught them something. William is truly grateful for everything that Chelsea have offered him, and one gets the sense Melo is starting to feel those same things. He seems more at peace than he was with the Thunder and Rockets.

They both faced criticism, which is a part of the journey and is quite normal for any player. They received both affection and criticism which has helped them become better players. The heartfelt letter by Willian has moved everyone including his fans. They are surely going to miss him in Chelsea. But he will be soon seen playing for Arsenal. For Melo, how far can the Blazers go? Can they take the 8-seed and challenge the Lakers in the first round? Could we see Portland surge into the playoffs, led by a veteran sniper like Melo? What a story it would be. Either way, it would be tremendous to see a fond final chapter for two fading stars.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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