And if Anthony's debut was loud, just imagine the atmosphere at MSG when postseason basketball finally comes back.
"I got a lot of texts and calls, just from the standpoint of they haven't seen the Garden like that in a long, long time," Anthony said. "And so for these fans to just be yelling my name, chanting my name, chanting Chauncey's name, yelling MVP for Amare, you can just feel the energy in the building."
And in the city. The Knicks' futility has left the headlines to teams such as the Yankees and Jets, who have enjoyed recent postseason success. It has made basketball fall back in the pecking order, and the only time the Knicks earned much press at all lately was for stories about Thomas, or the LeBron James free agency pursuit.
Anthony, who is from Brooklyn, has seen the decline and wants to halt it.
"New York basketball affects a lot of things in New York City, not just sports," he said. "It affects families, it affects neighborhoods, boroughs."
His debut was the story Wednesday, even on a day the rival Nets pulled off their own blockbuster to land point guard Deron Williams from Utah. It was MSG's highest-rated Knicks telecast in the regular season since Michael Jordan's famed "double-nickel" game on March 28, 1995, when he scored 55 points in his return to Madison Square Garden after his first retirement.
But even the skeptics knew the trade would be a winner at the box office. The doubt was about what it would mean on the court.
Anthony's arrival proved there shouldn't be any.
"We're getting closer to becoming a complete team," he said.
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