Carmelo Anthony’s chapter with the Portland Trail Blazers may have closed after a two-year run, but the 10-time All-Star isn’t quite finished thanking Portland, and namely Damian Lillard for believing in him. On yesterday’s edition of “All the Smoke” featuring Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Anthony elaborated on his process in returning to the NBA, and how Lillard’s faith proved invaluable in his comeback tour.
Anthony admitted he was at first hesitant to join the Blazers, largely because of the experiences he had just gone through in Houston. But after he realized how transparent they would be about his role, as well as the support of his teammates, he quickly warmed up the idea.
“Portland was real solid. They brought me in and I played right away. And that’s all I ever wanted to do was just hoop, man, I love to hoop. I wanted to be on the court. Then, I’m playing with Dame, I’m playing with CJ, they opened they arms, they opened they city, their organization, so I had to be loyal to those guys. Like, I’m gonna give you what I got.
Dame is a real one because Dame always knew like, ‘Man we don’t care about what nobody else is saying. We know you can play. I know you can play. I see you. I talk to you.’ So when you get somebody like that, rocking with you, it makes that situation easier.”
Barnes asked Anthony about the longstanding belief that Anthony and the Blazers had been connected much earlier than the 2019-20 season, to which Anthony responded with this.
“I always was connected to Portland somehow. I don’t know why, but I was always connected with Portland. I could’ve been there four years ago, it didn’t work out. I always told myself Dame will always go down as one of my top dogs. Forget basketball. Like as a human being, it don’t get better than that.”
Prior to that portion, Anthony talked about his mentality in potentially having to give up the game he loved, his upbringing, his Knicks and Nuggets tenure, and his social activism, among much else. He was the third Blazer over the past month to join “All the Smoke,” who also brought on Jermaine O’Neal and Zach Randolph over recent weeks.