By – Associated Press – Monday, January 28, 2019
NEW YORK (AP) – considered ending his NBA career after last season. was one of the people who told him he needed a proper goodbye.
On Sunday, ’s final lap around the league even brought back to Madison Square Garden.
sat courtside at his former home to watch help Miami beat the New York Knicks 106-97.
“I didn’t know he was coming. I found out before the game. But it meant a lot, man. I am glad,” said.
“I talked to him this summer. We went out to dinner and I was contemplating retirement and Melo was one of the ones that was pushing me to come back and he was like, ‘Flash, you can’t go out like that. You got to come back and get that love, that last tour kind of.’ And he was a big part of me making that decision. I am glad he came out (to) see me play in person, you know, maybe for the last time. So it’s cool.”
spent 6½ seasons with the Knicks before they traded him to Oklahoma City in September 2017. He’s still looking for a team after the Houston Rockets traded him to the Chicago Bulls, who are expected to either trade or waive the 10-time All-Star.
received a loud ovation when he was shown on the overhead videoboard in the first quarter. He told MSG Network it was important to come back and see , who is scheduled for one more game back in the arena in March.
“It means a lot because it was very difficult for me to come out of the house and come to an NBA game,” said , “but if there was one moment that I could come out and be here in this seat it’s to come see him finish it out here in the Garden. … It’s deeper than basketball when it comes to us.”
holds the single-game record at the current Garden with 62 points, one more than James Harden scored for Houston last week in a win over the Knicks. The New York native expects to return to the arena as more than a fan in the future.
“I’ve had some great years in this building and I look forward to coming back and playing in this building some more,” said.
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