Carmelo Anthony has looked back fondly on his season with the Portland Trail Blazers after saying he “hit rock bottom” prior to agreeing a contract with his current franchise.
The 10-time NBA All-Star was a misfit during his forgettable five-month stay with the Houston Rockets, making his way to the Moda Center in November 2019 via the Chicago Bulls.
Anthony, 35, recently appeared on Uninterrupted’s WRTS: After Party and described his stay in Oregon thus far as a highlight of his career:
“I hit rock bottom emotionally, and I had to build myself back up—basically by myself—to get here where I’m at today to be able to tell this story. So, this season will always be one of the highlight chapters of any story [that I tell].”
Portland fans and upper management will have been aware of the risk Anthony represented when moving for his signature. The veteran hadn’t played an NBA game in more than a year when he arrived last November, but faith in the forward has paid off under head coach Terry Stotts.
Anthony detailed the effect it had on him personally to go from such consistent success with the New York Knicks—whom he left in 2017—and continued:
“Getting traded the day before media day to OKC. Going to OKC, actually really liking it, didn’t work out for whatever reason, to going to Houston the following year to playing nine games. The first time I’ve ever come off the bench in 15 years. Ever. So that was an adjustment for me. Leading to having a year off. … I don’t think nobody will understand what I went through emotionally to get through and to be where I’m at today. I’m talking about doubting myself. I’m talking about mentally wanting to give up.”
There was little sign of give-up in the vast majority of Anthony’s play with Portland, where he looked a rejuvenated resource despite failing to lift the franchise much as a whole.
One February win over the Detroit Pistons in particular showed the class he can still bring to the court, breaking the 30-point mark in an NBA game for the first time in three years (32 points). Anthony averaged 15.3 points per game across 50 starts for Portland before the coronavirus put this season on hold.
After almost 14 years with the Denver Nuggets (2003-11) and the New York Knicks (2011-17), Anthony hasn’t spent more than one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Rockets, not to mention he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks and the Bulls in-between.
Residents of Oregon can still back Portland or bet on a more favored team to make it to the finals at legal U.S. online bookmakers (As they are open 24/7 vs. land-based operators which are still closed due to COVID-19). Check out legal bookmakers listed at Gambling.com that cover more accurate and up-to-date projections.
Anthony will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season, but the Trail Blazers may well be formulating plans to prolong his stay in Oregon.