One of the most popular players of his era, 38-year-old Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday following a 19-year career in pro basketball. Drafted by the Nuggets out of Syracuse after winning a national championship during his lone season in college, Anthony was a star in Denver before being traded to the New York Knicks. The NBA’s scoring leader (28.7 points per game) during the 2012-13 season with the Knicks, Anthony also spent time with the Thunder, Rockets and Trail Blazers before playing with the Lakers last season. Melo, who led the league in missed field goals (900) the year after winning the scoring title, did not play in the NBA this season even though there was some preseason buzz he might sign with an (alleged) contender like the Celtics.
Anthony, who has a record of 677-583 (.537 winning percentage) over the course of his pro career in the regular season, leaves the NBA as a 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection but not a league champion. A three-time Olympic gold medalist who has played in more international games for the U.S. (31) than any other men’s basketball player, Anthony never advanced past the conference finals in the postseason and won just three of 16 playoff series he participated in with a 28-55 (.337 winning percentage) record overall.
A stellar scorer who is only behind LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal on the league’s all-time scoring list, Anthony finishes his career with 28,289 points. He heads into retirement as a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, but the lack of a championship ring will always prevent him from being regarded as one of basketball’s best overall players. Based on what Anthony said in his retirement video, he may not care.
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“I remember the days when I had nothing, just a ball on the court and a dream of something more,” he said. “But basketball was my outlet. My purpose was strong, my communities, the cities I represented with pride and the fans that supported me along the way. I am forever grateful for those people and places because they made me Carmelo Anthony. People ask what I believe my legacy is. It’s not my feats on the court that come to mind, all the awards or praise. Because my story has always been more than basketball. My legacy, my son…I will forever continue through you. The time has come for you to carry this torch.”
Anthony’s son Kiyan is a highly-rated high school shooting guard who is being recruited by schools including George Mason, Illinois and Indiana.