The Melo Experiment

Carmelo Anthony // Photo by Getty Images

How long can Carmelo Anthony keep this up?

It took more than a full calendar year before an NBA franchise took the risk and signed Carmelo Anthony. “Melo” has been fantastic in his return to the game with the Portland Trail Blazers. But if it weren’t for an injury to Zach Collins, Anthony might still be without a job.

Three quarters of an hour before Carmelo Anthony made his home debut for the Portland Trail Blazers, his jersey was sold out. And during the game, the fans gave him a standing ovation with “Mel-o” chants ringing through the Moda Center.

“People see how genuine this is for me,” Anthony told the Portland Tribune after scoring 19 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 27. “It’s not fake. It’s authentic. This is who I am. This is real love at the end of the day.”

Carmelo Anthony is back in the NBA … and what a return it’s been.

Carmelo Kyam Anthony was named the Player of the Week in the sixth week of the current NBA season after averaging 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists and helping the Blazers win three straight games for the first time in the season.

The surprise of some fans shouldn’t be a surprise. Anthony’s last Player of the Week dated back to March 2014 – back then with the New York Knicks.

His return on November 19 at the New Orleans Pelicans was a long time coming for Anthony as he had last stood on an NBA parquet 375 days earlier. And it seemed unrealistic since his recent history was one fiasco after another.

Before the 2017-18 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder gave up Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for “Melo”, who played alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George and reached the playoffs but were bounced in the first round.

After just one season in Oklahoma City, Anthony and his monstrous contract from his New York days were shipped out to the Atlanta Hawks, with whom he did not play a single game before getting his contract bought out. That allowed him to move onto the Houston Rockets, who parted ways with him on November 15.

Carmelo Anthony // Photo by Getty Images

Sure, Anthony led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13, and he did lead the Knicks past the first round of the playoffs of the same season for the first time in years. But he failed to lead them back to the playoffs after that.

Carmelo Anthony’s star shined brightest in his first years in the NBA as the great hope of the Denver Nuggets. Entering the NBA after winning an NCAA title with Syracuse, he carried the Nuggets to the playoffs in every season he played there from 2004 to 2010 as one of the poster boys of the new generation of NBA superstars

But as opposed to other stars of the generation Anthony is still missing the team success – though he did win three Olympic gold medals and one bronze with Team USA, making him the most decorated athlete in USA Basketball history. But all that is nothing compared to a ring as an NBA champion. Anthony knows that and he has another chance to show what he has left in the tank with Portland.

Anthony is actually lucky to be getting his latest chance – though nobody would call Zach Collins’ serious shoulder injury luck. Collins dislocated his shoulder in the third game of the season and needed surgery and will miss at least four months.

With the other options as Collins’ replacement at starting power forward being Mario Hezonja, Anthony Tolliver and rookie Nassir Little, Portland decided to see what Anthony still had left and hoped he would use this chance to prove the basketball world wrong in saying he was done. The Trail Blazers only guaranteed their deal with “Melo” in early December for the rest of the season.

Things are going well now, but they have have gone south for Anthony in the past. Portland and their fans hope the good old Carmelo Anthony is here to stay.



by FIVE Magazine #165 – Carmelo Anthony – Text: Peter Bieg

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