Carmelo Anthony retires after 19-year NBA career, NCAA title and 3 Olympic gold medals
Former New York Knick Carmelo Anthony, the star forward who led Syracuse to an NCAA championship in his lone college season and went on to spend 19 years in the NBA, announced his retirement via social media video on Monday, May 22nd.
Anthony, who was not in the NBA this season, retires as the No. 9 scorer in league history. Only LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal scored more than Anthony — who finishes his career with 28,289 points.
“People ask what I believe my legacy is,” Carmelo Anthony, 38. said in a social media post. “It’s not my feats on the court that come to mind, all the awards or praise. Because my story has always been more than basketball. My legacy, my son … I will forever continue through you. The time has come for you to carry this torch.”
Anthony’s legacy has long been secure: He ends his playing days after being selected as one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history, a 10-time All-Star, a past scoring champion and a six-time All-NBA selection.
And while he never got to the NBA Finals — he played in the conference finals only once, with Denver against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 — Anthony also knew what it was like to be a champion.
He was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2003 Final Four when he led Syracuse to the title, and he helped USA Basketball win Olympic gold three times — at Beijing in 2008, at London in 2012 and at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Anthony has played in 31 games in four appearances at the Olympics, the most of any U.S. men’s player ever. Anthony’s 37 points against Nigeria in the 2012 Games is a USA Basketball men’s record at an Olympics, as are his 10 3-pointers from that game and his 13-for-13 effort from the foul line against Argentina in 2008.
With the Syracuse Orange, Anthony won a national championship as a freshman in 2003 while being named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In his 19-year NBA career, he was named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six times.
This year the Knicks won their first playoff series win in a decade, when Carmelo Anthony finished as the team’s leading scorer after averaging 28.7 PPG on 45% shooting from the field, and 38% from beyond the arc in the 2013 NBA playoffs. That year Melo and crew finished 54-28 and first in the Atlantic Division, earning the No. 2 overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Anthony was drafted No. 3 overall by Denver in 2003, part of the star-studded class that included James at No. 1, Hall of Famer Chris Bosh at No. 4, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade — he gets officially enshrined this summer — at No. 5.
Anthony will join them at the Hall of Fame before long. He averaged 22.5 points in his 19 seasons, spending the bulk of those years with Denver and the New York Knicks. Anthony has long raved about his time with the Knicks and what it was like playing at Madison Square Garden, especially as a kid who was born in Brooklyn.
He said in his retirement address that he’s looking forward to watching the development of his son Kiyan, a highly rated high school shooting guard. ”People ask what I believe my legacy is,” Anthony said. “It’s not my feats on the court that come to mind, all the awards or praise. Because my story has always been more than basketball. My legacy, my son … I will forever continue through you. The time has come for you to carry this torch.”
Kiyan, a 6-foot-4 sophomore at Long Island Lutheran, is a highly rated shooting guard who holds offers from a number of schools, including Syracuse, the school which Carmelo led to the 2003 NCAA championship.
“The Garden,” Anthony said in 2014. “They call it The Mecca for a reason.” Anthony also played for Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston and ended his career with the Lakers last season. He went unsigned this year, and now his retirement is official.
Melo’s legacy is bigger than just hooping. His latest foray into activism came in a partnership with Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade, the retired N.B.A. star. The three helped create the Social Change Fund, a philanthropic effort to invest in organizations that support people of color, both from a policy perspective — such as advancing causes like criminal justice reform and expanded voting rights — and at a community level by targeting racial inequities in housing and education.
Anthony said the group came together because of the conversations about racism after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by the police in Minneapolis in May, setting off nationwide protests. Several N.B.A. players participated. Anthony said he hoped this fund would be able to address inequality on the front end, short-circuiting the familiar conversations after the fact.
Melo has been one of the more outspoken players in the N.B.A. for several years. In August 2020, he guest-edited Slam, a basketball magazine, and appeared on the cover with his 13-year-old son, Kiyan, both in black hoodies. In a column, Anthony wrote, “Will you ever take your knee off our necks? Is it because I’m Black? Does that scare you?”
Anthony went from appearing briefly in an anti-snitching DVD that was filmed in Baltimore to speaking out about police reform. He said he grew up in a community where everyone knew each other, and some police officers had a strong relationship with the neighborhood. But others were unfamiliar, and that caused issues.
Don’t worry about his retirement being the last you hear from this brother, he has much more work to do.
“This conversation doesn’t just start and stop with me being a basketball player,” Anthony said. “This is a lifelong journey, a lifelong fight, a lifelong conversation I will continue to have. It’s not that I’ll be ‘focusing’ on that. I am that.”