LeBron Is ‘F*cking Proud’ Of How Carmelo Anthony Has Played In Portland

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are both in their 17th seasons in the NBA, but their recent histories couldn’t be further apart. Once on similar paths as budding superstars from the 2003 Draft, the two have diverged.

James has been producing stat lines reminiscent of — if not better than — those he put up in his traditional prime years for the Cavs and Lakers and is currently in the starring role for the NBA’s best team. Anthony, since leaving the Knicks, has struggled to find a home. His year in Oklahoma City went poorly alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and his brief stint last year in Houston left many wondering if his career would ever resume. Anthony, while not ready to call it quits, has said he had to entertain that thought, but finally got the opportunity early this season in Portland as the Blazers found themselves in dire straits on the wing.

Anthony’s first couple games were rocky, but since he’s been a great addition for Portland, including earning Conference Player of the Week last week. On Thursday, the two friends will meet for the 34th time in their careers, and ahead of that game they spoke with The Athletic’s Bill Oram and Jason Quick separately about their relationship, with James telling Oram he’s incredibly proud of Anthony’s performance in his comeback.

“Proud of him,” James told The Athletic on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. “I don’t know if he needed to hear it or not, but I’m f*cking proud of him. Like, really like a blood brother.”

“It’s like, when people throwing stones on you and trying to bury you alive and you able to rise above that shit?” James said. “That’s amazing. Sh*t kind of hit home. It’s a beautiful thing. Beautiful thing. Only the strong survive.”

The full story is worth a read, including a Q&A at the end where they reminisce about old times and also discuss, in vague terms, the future of the other. LeBron has been among Anthony’s biggest advocates over the last two years, so for him to take such pride in seeing his friend succeed is unsurprising.

We’ll see how Anthony keeps up as the season goes on, but for now it’s been one of the best stories of the young NBA season. He’s not just scoring, but is helping the Blazers win games and playing a fairly significant role in that. Given the questions many had about his ability to do so, it’s an impressive feat and is why James says the thing he respects most about Anthony is his resiliency.