Trend Watch

'Carmelo Was a True Conundrum'

Lookups for 'conundrum' spiked after Carmelo Anthony missed 12 of 17 shots.

Carmelo Anthony’s performance in the Knicks game against the Orlando Magic was one of his worst this season: he missed 12 of 17 shots. Some commentators guessed that harsh comments from a new book by his former coach George Karl may explain Anthony’s distraction. In one passage, the coach writes:

Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him. He was the best offensive player I ever coached. He was also a user of people, addicted to the spotlight, and very unhappy he had to share it. Wait. There’s more.

Conundrum spiked in lookups on December 23, 2016, following coverage of the game and the coach’s words. Anthony himself used the word in response:

I haven’t been in Denver in six, seven years. I haven’t played under him in six, seven years. And when you’re there it’s a different story than what you hear after the fact. I never knew this much. I never knew I was a — what’s the word — conundrum. I never knew that.

Conundrum means “a confusing or difficult problem.” Originally, it meant “a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.” Despite the fact that it looks like a word that entered English from Latin, it’s possible that it is a faux Latin word, invented by students at Oxford in the 1600s during the time when Latin was the academic lingua franca.

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