- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Yahoo!'s Jeff Eisenberg brought up a good point today: A few years back, when Texas decided to retire Kevin Durant's famous No. 35, I remember some people grumbling. The response was both predictable and flabbergasting; these people grumbled about how Durant was a one-and-done guy whose team didn't win any postseason honors, and all he was, was a really good player who stayed on campus for a few months. Why retire his jersey? (The counter-argument is pretty straightforward: Because he had 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds a game, and was the National POY as a freshman? And also, shut up?) Silly though it was, it was there.
That will not be the case for Syracuse legend Carmelo Anthony.
You would be hard-pressed to find someone to argue that, on the merits, Anthony shouldn't have his No. 15 retired, which Syracuse announced it will do Feb. 23, during halftime of the Orange's game against Georgetown. Maybe there are some people out there so opposed to the idea of a player leaving after his first season they won't hear of it -- I don't know, maybe these people exist. But I doubt it, because Anthony was not only individually brilliant in his one season at the school (22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds), he led the Orange to Jim Boeheim's only national title. That's the kind of team success all of those outdated one-and-done disbelievers couldn't possibly discount, assuming anyone out there even wanted to try. (Again: I doubt it.)
In fact, the only counter-argument to Melo's jersey ceremony came from Sean Keeley over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, who initially heard Syracuse was going to retire Melo's number forever. This is a confusing distinction, but a crucial one: At Syracuse, jerseys are retired, not numbers. The uniforms hang in the rafters, but the actual numbers live on, forever wearable by new waves of players, down through the generations.
At first, Keeley and Co. thought Melo was getting a special exception, that no one would ever wear his No. 15 again. Which would be pretty impressive, actually. That is not the case. The Orange are sticking with their standard operating procedure, and future No. 15s will soon be coming to a Carrier Dome court near you. I'm not sure anyone could argue with that.