It’s been a long, tough road for Carmelo Anthony this past year. After just 10 games as a Houston Rocket, the organization that had pined after him for years unceremoniously dismissed him, in the process making him out to be something of a scapegoat for everything that was plaguing the team during their sluggish start to the season.
Since then, there have been all sorts of rumors about where he might end up. Naturally, a long-awaited union with old pal LeBron James was thought to be in the works at various points, though that obviously never materialized. Once the trade deadline passed, and the start of the postseason, his prospects looked bleaker and bleaker.
There was some hope that a team might take a flier on him in free agency this summer, but with the moratorium long over and training camp approaching next month, Melo still finds himself without an NBA home. On Friday, the former All-Star made an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, where he sounded off on his situation and the emotional pain it’s caused.
"I felt like the game didn’t love me back at that point. … Now, I love the game too much to be away from it."
–Carmelo Anthony on his free agency
— ESPN (@espn) August 2, 2019
“At that point in time, I was like, I don’t wanna do this no more,” Anthony said. “I don’t wanna deal with the politics of playing a sport that I love. And I felt like the game didn’t love me back at that point in time…I felt like I loved the game more than the game loved me, at that particular time. Now, I love the game too much to be away from it. I just love the game. I do everything, I’m trying young guys, I’m training myself, I’m in it. Now, I got a new life about me. It took me a while to get out of that situation, emotionally, out of that Houston situation.”
Per usual this time of year, Melo has popped up in the infamous black ops runs in New York, showing that he can still hold his own against NBA talent (at least in a casual pickup game). And his appearance on ESPN seems to be part of his new offensive to get back into the league.
His former colleagues have jumped in on the cause recently as well, with Damian Lillard taking to Twitter with the hashtag #VoteForMeloFareWellSeason as part of a lobby to give him the sendoff he deserves. Yet, not everyone has been as kind. Melo’s former Nuggets teammate Chauncey Billups offered a rather icy assessment of why he’s found his way out of the league, claiming in no uncertain words that selfishness has played a major role.
It’s as uncertain as ever whether we’ll see him on an NBA roster this fall, but however it pans out, it won’t be for lack of trying.