NBA 75 Series: #69 Carmelo Anthony
Ranked #69 in my 75 Greatest NBA Players of All time https://www.djssportsshow.com/post/nba-75-greatest-players-of-all-time is Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Kyam Anthony was born on May 29, 1984, in Brooklyn, New York, as the youngest of four children to his mother Mary Anthony and his father Carmelo Iriarte, who sadly died of liver failure when Anthony was just two years old. Despite being born in Brooklyn, Anthony would be raised in Baltimore, Maryland which was a rough, ghetto, and drug-infested area. His mom would work as a housekeeper just to keep a roof over Anthony and his three other siblings' heads at the time.
Mary kept her eyes on her children like a hawk, making sure Carmelo and his siblings always stayed atop their schoolwork. Anthony would however start playing basketball at a young age, attending Towson Catholic High School for his first three years of high school where he would get cut from the team as a freshman.
That would only fuel Anthony however, growing five additional inches to go along with his talent that made him a Baltimore folk hero. During his sophomore year, he averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, helping lead Towson Catholic to a remarkable 26-3 record and finishing third in the state tournament.
He would only continue to elevate as a junior, almost doubling his numbers in both points and rebounds by averaging 23 points and 10.3 rebounds. However, Towson Catholic fell short of the state title, despite being named Baltimore’s County Player of the Year, All-Metropolitan Player of the Year and Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year in an extraordinary individual season for Anthony.
During the summer of 2001, before his senior season, Anthony led the AAU Baltimore Select team to the Final Four of the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. He would show how lethal of a scorer he would become by averaging 25.2 points a game in the tournament, which was also attended by Amar'e Stoudemire.
That year Anthony would transfer to the iconic Oak Hill Academy, which is a private boarding school in Virginia, which is very strict when it comes to their players doing well in school which only pushed Carmelo to raise his test scores to attend a top college and improve his game as a player. Oak Hill was the perfect place for Anthony because it has produced numerous NBA players such as Ron Mercer and Stephen Jackson to name a few.
He would become a McDonald’s All-American and participate in the other All- Star events as well, such as the Jordan Brand Classic. Unlike NBA superstars such as Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett who jumped straight from high school to the NBA and succeeded, Anthony felt he wasn’t ready and committed to Syracuse University, where he would play his one season of college ball in 2002-03.
He would go on to have one of the best freshman seasons of all-time, averaging 22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while helping guide the Orangemen to their first ever National title in 2003 in dominating fashion which earned him the game’s Most Outstanding Player Award.
His NBA prospects became even higher after a Cinderella type freshman year and he was projected to be a top three pick in the historic 2003 NBA Draft that gave us LeBron James, himself, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and of course the disappointing Darko Milicic. Anthony would be selected third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets behind Milicic going second to the Detroit Pistons, and James going first to his hometown Cleveland, which was no surprise considering he was the most hyped prospect probably ever in sports history.
Anthony would go on to have one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history in Denver, averaging over 21 points and six rebounds per game, but failed to win Rookie of the Year because of James' exploits and the hype surrounding him.
Overall, he helped the Nuggets reach the playoffs in each of his seven seasons there, but unfortunately lost in the first round six of those seven appearances, but won 54 games and reached the conference finals in 2009, where they lost in five games to the Kobe, Gasol-led Lakers. In February of 2011, Anthony forced a trade to the Knicks and his playoff streak continued through his first three seasons in New York. The 2012-13 season remains the Knicks' best since they reached The Finals in 1999. With Anthony leading the league in scoring (28.7 ppg), they won 54 games and he finished top three in MVP voting. But, they were upset by the Paul George-led Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals, failing to reach the finals.
He would then go on to play a season in OKC with Westbrook and George, 10 games in Houston with CP3 and Harden, and was wrongly black-balled out of the league for a year before he got his career rejuvenated by the Portland Trail Blazers where he would join superstar guard Damian Lillard. He averaged 14.3 points per game with the Blazers in his two seasons and signed with the Lakers this past offseason to join his fellow draftmate and longtime friend, LeBron James.
Anthony is a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, league scoring leader (2013), won the NBA Social Justice Award (2021), and a member of the 75 greatest NBA players ever. Anthony is also the only player to have played in four Olympics for the United States, winning three gold medals (2008,2012,2016) and one bronze (2004), along with a bronze in the 2006 World Championships.
He is the all-time Olympic career scoring leader with 336 career points and one of the greatest scorers in NBA History, getting his rightful spot here on this list.