Let’s give Carmelo his just due

Photo courtesy of Kathy Willens--Associated Press

Let’s give Carmelo his just due
May 12
12:33 2021

Carmelo Anthony has joined some elite company and cemented himself as one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the league.

Last week, the 10-time All-Star forward passed Elvin Hayes for 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. This is an amazing accomplishment for any player and shows not only how great of a scorer the player is, but also highlights the longevity of the player as well.

“If you’re in the top 10 of anything of all time, it’s a special moment,” Anthony said. I knew this moment. I didn’t know those other moments – 15, 13, 11. But 10 is something I knew.”

Anthony is in his 18th season in the NBA and will be 37 years old before the end of the month. Throughout the years, he has accumulated quite a long list of accomplishments. Anthony is a scoring champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and a six-time All-NBA selection.  

With such a long list of achievements, it’s hard to believe that people question the greatness of Anthony, but it is a valid critique. I, myself, find it difficult to accurately place Anthony on the list of the all-time greatest players. Is he the Dominique Wilkins of this era; all offense with little to no post season success to go along with it?  Or is Anthony just another star-crossed player that has had some bad luck in the playoffs?

Two years ago, it looked like Melo was done in the NBA. After the failed experiment with the Houston Rockets, it almost seemed like no one wanted to take a chance on the then 34-year-old superstar. Luckily for us fans, the Portland Trailblazers took a chance on him and it has paid off for both parties.

“A couple years ago I ain’t thinking I was gonna be in this moment. I was out of the league for whatever reason … I’m back. I persevered. I stayed strong, I stayed true to myself and now I’m here in the Top 10,” Carmelo said in the locker room after the game he passed Hayes.

Anthony has averaged 23 points per game in his career and put up most of his points with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. At 36 years of age, Carmelo has 27,318 points in his career and will more than likely pass Moses Malone before season’s end to end the year in ninth place all-time on the scoring list.

The one glaring hole in Carmelo’s career is an NBA championship. Sorry to say, but the Blazers are not championship contenders in the loaded western conference this season, so it’s a strong possibility that Anthony will finish his career without a ring.

That is the one thing that people routinely like to throw out when comparing Anthony to other all-time greats of the game. Let’s not forget that Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, Elgin Baylor, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash are some of the greatest players in the history of the NBA and none of them has won a championship.

I am curious as to why Anthony’s game is criticized more often than other players as the reason why he has never won a championship. It seems like people wanted Melo to evolve into a player that he never was.  

Coming out of Syracuse, where he won a national championship as a freshman, everyone knew that Anthony was a prolific scorer. He was not a distributor like LeBron James, or a great wing defender like Michael Jordan. He was a dominant scorer that could do it on all levels and should be appreciated as such.  

If Anthony would have chosen to join a super team instead of taking the big money from the Knicks years ago, he more than likely would have won a ring or two along the way. Many people used to look at Kevin Durant the same way before he joined the Golden State Warriors and won a couple of rings.

It’s too late in Melo’s career for him to do something similar because he is basically a role player at this juncture in his career. I wish a player of his stature would have had the opportunity to win a championship to cement his legacy.

I am glad that Carmelo has gained the respect of other NBA superstars and teammates. I think that matters to him more than what his critics and analysts must think about him.

“Being in the top 10, that’s a really special accomplishment,” Damian Lillard, his Portland Trailblazer teammate said after the game. “And I think for him, this is probably a little more special because a lot of people tried to count him out and tried to finish him. … I appreciate him more as a friend than I do as a teammate and I really appreciate him as a teammate. I think that really speaks to the kind of person he is. I’m happy for him.”

Those words really speak volumes, not only to the quality person Lillard is, but also to how Anthony is valued by his teammates. As a former superstar in this league, it had to be hard to take a backseat to players like Lillard and C.J. McCollum on the Blazer roster.

It would have been great to see what Melo could have done with another superstar player on his team. For now, all we can do is enjoy what’s left of his career and hope he can play a supplemental role on a championship team, because it would be tragic if Anthony left the game without winning one. 

And just to clarify, he is one of the greatest players to ever lace them up and will be missed when he is gone.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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