At this stage of the NBA season four years ago, the Portland Trail Blazers were a flailing 5-10 team, looking for any spark of life to turn things around. At the same moment, a 35-year-old Carmelo Anthony was over one year removed from playing in the league, desperately searching for a chance to prove he could still play.
The two sides made for a nice match, and four years ago on this day, Nov. 19, 2019, Anthony made his Trail Blazers debut in a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Nov 19 2019 - @carmeloanthony makes his @trailblazers debut. It is Anthony's 1st @NBA game since Nov 8 2018 when he was playing w/@HoustonRockets— Blazers History (@77Blazers) November 19, 2023
The #Blazers & Anthony reached an agreement last week & signed contract yesterday#RipCity pic.twitter.com/94MFJuIRX8
The 10-time All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer put up 10 points on 4-14 shooting and five rebounds, and the Trail Blazers fell 115-104. But the game was just the first of 127 appearances in which Melo donned the Trail Blazers uniform, firmly resurrecting his career.
Over two seasons in Portland, including 58 starts that first season, Anthony averaged 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds, while going 39.9% on 3-pointers. The NBA scoring great provided a much-needed offensive punch to a thin forward rotation, along with many 3s to the dome, explicit-filled rebounds, jab steps and mid-range jumpers out of the high post.
Anthony’s presence didn’t come without polarization, namely due to his lack of defense and trigger-happy style with the ball. But that’s part of what made Melo, Melo. My guess is most Trail Blazers fans look back at the overall experience of having an iconic NBA player like Anthony suit up for Portland as a positive, even if it maybe came a few years too late.
Perhaps, Anthony will best be remembered in Portland for his role as one of Damian Lillard’s main running mates during the team’s 2020 NBA Bubble, run as the Trail Blazers rode a hot streak of down-to-the-wire wins to sneak into the playoffs.
After Anthony’s second season in Portland ended in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, he moved on to join LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2021-22 season. Anthony officially announced his retirement in May 2023.
Trail Blazers fans, what do you remember most about Anthony’s time in Rip City? Let us know in the comments! And STAYME7O out there.