Carmelo Anthony was a great player for the Denver Nuggets. His prime years were in Denver, and he immediately brought relevancy to a Nuggets team that was remarkably irrelevant throughout the 90s and the early 2000s. In 2003, Melo’s rookie year, he carried Denver to the playoffs for only the third time since 1990. He proceeded to bring the Nuggets to the playoffs every year he was in Denver (2003-2011). Melo was a walking bucket. My favorite player growing up.
So why is Carmelo Anthony, once a savior of Nuggets basketball, delusional?
“The history is here, this is where it all started.”
That statement is true, Melo did START his career in Denver. So then why didn’t he continue his career in Denver?
Oh yeah, HE DEMANDED A TRADE.
Call me crazy, but someone who demands a trade probably shouldn’t get his jersey retired by the city and organization he demanded a trade from. If you win a championship or two then fine, retire that person’s jersey, but Melo didn’t do a whole lot of winning here in Denver…
And it would be one thing if the Nuggets didn’t surround Melo with enough talent (like LeBron in his first stint with Cleveland), but Denver ABSOLUTELY gave this man everything he needed to succeed in the playoffs. Consider the players the Nuggets surrounded Melo with during his tenure in Denver:
Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson, Nené, Andre Miller, Aaron Afflalo, Chris “Birdman” Anderson.
Just to name a few…
The point is, the Nuggets surrounded Melo with enough talent to get past the first round of the playoffs more than one time. The problem wasn’t the Nuggets, it was him. For how great of a pure scorer Melo was, he was a one-trick pony. He didn’t play any defense and it got exposed in the playoffs, over and over again. He was also selfish, with little ambition to pass the ball to the open man. This also got exposed in the playoffs…year after year.
So now, after 10 years away from Denver, living his best life as a New York Knick (where he never got out of the second round of the playoffs by the way), Melo has the audacity to EXPECT his jersey retired in Denver.
This isn’t the first time he’s spoken about this.
There’s a few problems with that.
- The obvious: Melo demanded a trade out of Denver in the prime of his career.
- He didn’t do a whole lot of winning, only getting out of the first round of the playoffs once with the Nuggets.
- Although Melo is now saying he wants his jersey retired in Denver, he has never been consistent with that narrative:
- And finally, the Elephant in the room…
No, I’m not calling Nikola Jokic an elephant…Although if I was, he would be the kindest and most beloved elephant Denver has ever known. Not to mention the most skilled.
And therein lies the issue.
Carmelo Anthony wants, sorry EXPECTS, his #15 to get hung in the rafters of Ball Arena.
Apologies, Melo. Someone else owns that number now. The greatest Denver Nugget of all time.
Yes, that’s right. The back-to-back MVP. An award Melo never even came close to receiving.
Here’s an interesting fact from StatMuse:
Out of all the players that have managed to score 27,000 points, Carmelo Anthony is the only one without a championship or an MVP.
I think this stat perfectly encapsulates who Melo was as a player. An all-time great scorer who didn’t do the other things required to win. Nikola Jokic does those things.
So to the die-hard Carmelo Anthony fans out there, don’t fret. #15 will be a number one day hanging in the rafters of Ball Arena.
The only caveat?
The last name on the jersey will be Jokic, not Anthony.