May 6, 2020

Carmelo Anthony hit ‘rock bottom’ during NBA exile


No NBA team was certain that Carmelo Anthony could help them, leaving the healthy, 35-year-old out of action for more than a year. During that time, the 10-time All-Star grew the same doubts.

“I don’t think nobody will understand what I went through emotionally to get through and to be where I’m at today,” the Trail Blazers forward said on The Uninterrupted’s WRTS: After Party chat. “I’m talking about doubting myself. I’m talking about mentally wanting to give up.

“I hit rock bottom emotionally, and I had to build myself back up—basically by myself—to get here where I’m at today to be able to tell this story.”

Playing just 10 games for the Rockets before being released in Nov. 2018, Anthony was eventually traded to the Bulls, who quickly waived the former scoring champion. Just two years earlier, Anthony was an All-Star with the Knicks and still recognized as one of the most talented players in the league.

Carmelo Anthony NBA exile rock bottom
Carmelo AnthonyGetty Images

But for most of 2019, the aging forward’s isolation-heavy game was viewed as a poor fit in most offensive systems, with Anthony’s need to have the ball in his hands seen as potentially limiting the progress of younger teammates.

“If I ever write a book, this chapter would be highlighted,” Anthony said. “I mean, you gotta think — and I’m just gonna give a full-year span in a quick sense. I go from New York, making the All-Star Game, averaging 22, 23 [points] in the Eastern Conference, dealing with everything that I was dealing with off the court, organizational structure, just everything I was dealing with in New York.

“… Getting traded the day before media day to OKC. Going to OKC, actually really liking it, didn’t work out for whatever reason, to going to Houston the following year to playing [10] games. The first time I’ve ever come off the bench in 15 years. Ever. So that was an adjustment for me. Leading to having a year off.”

Finally, Portland took a flier on Nov. 19, signing Team USA’s all-time leading scorer to a non-guaranteed, one-year deal. Anthony soon proved he still had a place in the league, averaging 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, while shooting 37.1 percent on 3-pointers in 50 games with the Blazers.

“So, this season will always be one of the highlight chapters of any story [that I tell],” Anthony said.



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