On the night of the 2003 NBA Draft, there is absolutely no way you would have imagined that such a scenario would be possible.
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James team up for the first time on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster contending for the championship.
As unlikely as he was 18 years ago, he was even more unlikely during the 2019 season, when Anthony was waived by the Houston Rockets after just ten games and spent the season on the sidelines, his career seemingly over.
Desire to accept a role saw the Portland Trail Blazers offer the lifeblood of the NBA for a renewal of one of the most talented offensive players of modern times.
Now 37, Anthony finds himself in a position to reach the NBA Finals for the first time, playing alongside recruiting competitor and long-term friend, LeBron.
The reasons for Anthony joining the Lakers are clear. Anthony, a 10-time and 6-time NBA All-Star player, has had major success on an individual level without reaching the greatest stage the game has to offer.
While speaking with Spectrum SportsNet on Media Day, Anthony provided insight into the reasons why we feel now is the right time to collaborate with LeBron.
Anthony said, “I know our friendship. I know our brothers we enjoy. I know the connection we have.”
“Over the years, we’ve kind of been dozing and indulging in, ‘Oh, let’s play together, let’s do this or let’s do that. But it wasn’t. And at a time when we both had our careers, I think we both needed to hear that. I needed to hear, ‘I need you.’ I want you. Let’s go.” I really needed to hear that affirmation.
“It was a different feeling. It was a different feeling at this point.”
While LeBron remains a candidate for MVP and team leader, Anthony has moved on to playing a role, providing outdoor shooting and the ability to score in several ways in a complementary role.
You could say Anthony paid his dues playing his part, he’s proven he’s willing to take on a lesser role to stay in the league if he wins.
“At the end of the day, just getting out there and wanting to play basketball, wanting to be a part of what’s going on and being a major part of our team’s success. Whether it’s in different ways or shapes or forms, I personally had to,” Anthony said. I kinda swallow that pill.” NBA.com After signing with the Blazers in December 2020.
While Portland failed to make a deep post-season run, Anthony was a solid contributor, averaging 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game across two seasons with the franchise.
The Lakers are set to enter opening night with a number of injuries to key players, with Trevor Ariza, Tallinn Horton Tucker and Wayne Ellington confirmed. It opens the way for Anthony to start facing the Golden State Warriors.
Whatever his role throughout the campaign, Anthony told ESPN He has one thing on his mind.
“I’m coming in and thinking about a championship. I guess we all know that’s the one thing I’m missing, right?
“It’s the only thing that keeps me up at night, it motivates me, because I don’t have it. I want this experience.”
Tips for the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers at 10:00 PM ET on TNT.