By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Look, Melo, you don't know me, and I don't know you. That's obvious. You made that painfully clear at the last Nuggets game I attended when, despite the fact that I shrieked "Melo, Melo, Melo!" for the better part of three quarters, you didn't so much as acknowledge my presence. And while I could have lived without the beating by a combination of Nuggets security personnel and piss-drunk Altitude Sports broadcasters -- I'm looking in your direction, Bill Hanzlik -- when I tried to rush the court, fact was, I didn't know you well enough to be calling you any sort of nickname, let alone try to give you a chest bump with two minutes remaining in a close game. I realize now that I should have been calling you Carmelo, or perhaps Mr. Anthony. That would have been much more polite. I'll admit it, I was frontin'. Am I saying that right? Frontin'? However you say it, I was doing it. But I don't think we should let that get in the way, Mr. Anthony. Because here's the thing: You and I should be boys. I mean, why not? You're in Denver, I'm in Denver. You're a celebrity, I'm in Denver. It's perfect. And I know you're an incredibly busy man and everything, but I'm afraid I'm still going to have to ask you to make the first move in this relationship. Invite me to your 21st birthday party, Carmelo Anthony.
Melo (Can I call you Melo?), what's one more name on that list going to cost you? Not a thing. I'll even drink alone beforehand so I don't run up a huge tab on your dollar. And if that's not enough, allow me to extend this offer: You invite me to your birthday party, and I'll invite you to mine. Straight-up trade. You wouldn't even have to wait that long, either. My birthday is only four days after yours. We're Gemini buddies! Who knows? If things go well, maybe next year we can throw a big bash together! Am I getting ahead of myself? Ha, ha, well, we'll just play it by ear then, Melo. I can call you Melo, right?
Now, I know I'm just some stranger to you, Melo, but I promise, I know how to throw a birthday party. Ask anyone who's been to one of my birthdays, and they'll tell you what's up. There was the one when I turned six, and my parents rented a moonwalk, and we put it in the back yard, and I didn't cry once. Or how about when I took my entire fourth-grade class to see Back to the Future Part IIIand sat in gum but totally kept my cool? When I turned 21, my friends and I all got hammered downtown, then returned to Park Hill and stumbled around like idiots. At one point, we even laid down in the middle of Montview Boulevard at three in the morning, just like that scene that they took out of the movie The Program. Then I threw up all over the place! See what I mean? I know how to party. It would be a shame for you to miss out on whatever I come up with this year, Melo. So you should probably just go ahead and invite me to your party on May 29.
And Melo, if you're worried about how I would handle myself around all your celebrity guests, fear not. Check out how I would interact with your fiancée, La La:
Me: It's nice to meet you, La La. I'm a fan of your show.
La La: Thanks.
Me: Tell me, do you think Nelly is exploiting this "ur" slurring thing for a profit, or is he actually reflecting the way people talk back in the Lou?
La La: Well, that's an interesting question...
See what I'm talking about, Melo? I wasn't starstruck or stupid at all. I immediately engaged her in a topic of conversation that would be of interest to her and remained calm and collected, charming even. Because I can fit into any sort of situation, Melo. I really can. One of your friends is in town from Baltimore, I'm chatting him up about the dope aquarium. Manu Ginóbili's name comes up, I'm flopping all over that party, making everybody lose their shit. Somebody wants to talk Steinbeck, I'm spitting Cannery Row. Versatility, Melo. You've got it, and I have it, too. It's what's going to make us such good friends.
So as you turn 21, Melo, and all of Denver wishes you many, many more, I beseech you: Invite me to your party. Otherwise, you can't come to my birthday party, and I'll be forced to turn somewhere else.
K-Mart. Can I call you K-Mart?