With Valentine’s Day come and gone, I found myself in the mood for a dysfunctional love story.
When it comes to dysfunctional love stories, I can think of none better than the relationship between Carmelo Anthony and NBA fans.
For those that regularly follow The Penn, you already know about my soft spot for NBA legend Carmelo Anthony. The former NBA All-Star is in the final stretch of what has been an impressive professional career.
Despite Melo’s greatness, he still has a good number of doubters. Despite his collegiate championship, 10 all-star appearances, three Olympic gold medals, and spending the better part of two decades averaging 23 points per game, he still has doubters.
Carmelo Anthony’s “golden years” have been a well-documented drama at The Penn. I have covered his fall from grace with the New York Knicks, all the way to his resurgence with the Portland Trailblazers.
During that period, Melo was on four different rosters in his short time between the Knicks and Trailblazers. During his time on the Rockets in 2018, Melo had reached an all-time low in his career where he was let go by Houston after the 10th game of the regular season.
This process was especially hard for Anthony, who had to adjust from franchise centerpiece to off the team within a matter of a few short seasons.
“I felt like I was being fired,” Anthony said of the event in an appearance on “First Take.”
It was personal for Anthony since basketball is what has helped him accomplish so much throughout his career. Now he was being told that he was old and that the game had passed him by.
After sitting out of the league for over a year, Carmelo Anthony has come back to the league with a vengeance. In his short time with Portland, he has already proved he is a quality player who can put up starter caliber numbers for a playoff contender.
This season, Anthony is averaging 13.5 points and almost four rebounds for a Portland team that is sitting at No. 6 in the Western Conference standings.
The best part has yet to come. In what was probably his best game as a Trailblazer, Melo went off and showed the entire world that he is still capable of performing at an elite level against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their 129–110 victory.
Anthony seemed to blow the dust off the vintage tapes and put up a 23-point performance. This impressive display of dominance showed just how deadly Anthony can be on the offensive end.
The biggest thing that critics hold against Anthony is the fact that he has not won a championship or that he has not contributed to a winning team. Anthony is in the process of silencing his doubters in Portland.
In the NBA bubble last postseason, Anthony got to see his first postseason action since 2017 in a first-round loss against the eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite losing the playoff series, Anthony was a major contributor and even put up an astonishing 27 points in their last game against the Lakers.
This season, it looks as though he will get another shot to prove his worth for a team that looks destined for a playoff run in the loaded Western Conference.
The relationship between Carmelo Anthony and the fans has been a tumultuous one. It is best compared to a bad relationship that failed, but you are trying to make it work out again now that you have both matured.
It seems now there has been a sort of transformation in the opinions of NBA fans and analysts on Carmelo Anthony. People who had counted him out before, are now finding themselves rooting for a 36-year-old outcast who was past his prime.
Analysts like Max Kellerman from “First Take” called Melo “past his prime” and that the league had changed from underneath him.
Now, Kellerman has stated on TV that Anthony “can be a quality starting-caliber player in the NBA.”
Right now, the whole world is remembering and reminiscing at the offensive ability of Anthony. The NBA circle is having a time of foresight and appreciation that many couples go through in dysfunctional relationships.
The world always seems to want more of Carmelo, and right when you think everyone loves his game, someone comes right in and starts the vicious cycle of doubting all over again.
While Anthony may not be receiving the revered goodbye from teams like Denver and New York, he is making a difference and making history on the Trailblazers.
In fact, Anthony surpassed Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett for the No. 12 spot on the all-time scoring list. Even though the initial breakup with Anthony was messy with Houston, it seems that the time apart has done him well.
Perhaps he will never be remembered as some of the other NBA legends like Jordan or Lebron, but Anthony will always have a special place in the hearts of many NBA fans.