As LaMelo Ball has burst onto the scene with a sensational first half of his rookie season, there has been plenty said about his game and the areas in which he already excels, but also conversation about his name and whether he can go by “Melo,” particularly when the original Melo, Carmelo Anthony, is still in the league.
The two met for the first time this season on Monday night in Portland, where Anthony’s Blazers pulled away late to come out on top in a 123-111 win. Carmelo and LaMelo were the game’s top scorers, with the rookie leading Charlotte with 30 points and the 18-year vet coming off the bench to give Portland 29. After the game, it was all love between the Melos, as they swapped jerseys and shared a quick conversation on the floor before heading off to their respective locker rooms.
Melo and Melo trade jerseys 🤝 pic.twitter.com/rvQ7NnLkdL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 2, 2021
In his postgame press conference, Carmelo was asked about the “Melo” name controversy, if there even is one, as well as LaMelo’s use of his “three to the dome” celebration after three-pointers. Anthony embraced all of it, saying he gave Ball his blessing to use the celebration — provided he only does it once rather than three times as Anthony does — and was glad that LaMelo has that name and takes it as a sign of respect that he wants to go by Melo.
Carmelo Anthony clearing the air on the Melo controversy with LaMelo Ball:
"I vouched for it, he can do it"<-on LaMelo doing 3 to the dome celly
"It's an honor for him to have that name for him to embrace it. It's a blessing, it's a respect thing for me"<-on LaMelo going by Melo pic.twitter.com/CgL1PK6UXO
— AJ McCord (@AJ_McCord) March 2, 2021
For all the hand-wringing from fans over the Melo situation, it’s cool to see the original Melo say this and give the young fella his blessing to embrace that connection between the two. It certainly helps that LaMelo is balling out in his rookie season, which makes it a little easier for the future Hall of Famer to want to be connected to him, but even so, it’s always great to see guys embracing the next generation in this way.