Carmelo Anthony is four games into his return to the NBA as a member of the Trail Blazers. On Monday, the Blazers ended their six-game road trip with a win over the Bulls, giving Melo his first victory in a NBA uniform in over a year. Still in the early stages of his comeback, The Athletic’s Shams Charania caught up with the 35-year-old forward.
Fresh off a 25-point outing, Melo explained to Charania that he doesn’t view his time with the Blazers as a farewell tour.
“This ain’t a damn farewell tour,” Anthony said. “My love for the game don’t stop. I don’t know where this ‘farewell tour’ thing came from. I’ve never talked about a farewell tour. I know what I can do and I believe in myself. When a farewell tour comes, it comes. That’s not something I think about. I’m not thinking about retiring right now. I had (thought about it) during this past stretch over the summer. But ain’t no retiring in my mind. I believe in what I have left.”
Despite Portland’s less-than-ideal record with Melo in the lineup (1-3), the former Knicks star revealed that he feels validated. He also discussed that his absence from the NBA fueled several narratives that weren’t always rooted in reality.
“It’s been very validating returning to the floor,” Anthony said. “From the standpoint of to know the amount of talk being said about me, versus the amount of support that I had. I think the amount of support outweighs all the negativity and what was said. The frustrating part was someone coming up with a narrative, then everybody just piggybacking off of it.
“A narrative that nobody even knew what happened or what was going on. That was the frustrating part.”
Regardless of his desire to return to the NBA and end his career on his terms, Melo told Charania that it wasn’t a simple decision to join the Blazers. Melo went on to explain that he was influenced by the persistent contact that he received from Portland’s players.
“It really wasn’t any conversations. I was continuing to go on with life and hanging with my fam and doing my other business ventures. Then Dame called me. CJ (McCollum) called me. Zach called me. Everybody, a lot of people texted me and called me. But it had to be something that I felt comfortable with and that they felt comfortable with. We got on the phone, got comfortable and went from there.”
Melo, who was sidelined for a full year after a brief 10-game stint with the Rockets, is averaging 29.5 minutes per game through his first four outings. During his time on the court, he is producing 16 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.
The Trail Blazers return home from their road trip to face the Thunder on Wednesday, marking Melo’s home debut. His one-year, $2.1 million deal will become guaranteed on Jan. 7 if he remains on Portland’s roster.
You can read Charania’s full post at The Athletic (subscription required).