You don’t need to be a big hoops fan to know that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony go way back. They both came into the league as young phenoms in the 2003 NBA Draft class. They are essentially brothers who have maintained an on-court rivalry and off-court friendship for over 18 years now. Additionally, both have had some memorable battles.
Throughout their 18-year-old friendship, fans have never had the pleasure of seeing the players compete together. Thankfully, all our wishes have been finally answered! LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are teaming up as Carmelo joins the Lakers this off-season.
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On that note, let us take a trip down memory lane and explore the beautiful friendship of our favourite hoopers!
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony Friendship: How did the two meet?
There are some unforgettable stories of friendships and meet-cutes in the world of basketball. The story of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony’s first meet is one such notorious story.
In 2002, there was a chance encounter between the two Basketball players in a hotel lobby at Bucks Country, Pennsylvania. St. Vincent-St. Mary and Oak Hill Academy checked into their respective rooms and were preparing for a face-off the next night. That is when LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony first met each other.
Undoubtedly, they were two of the best high school prospects in the country at that time. They were also preparing to play in Trenton, New Jersey, the next night in a Primetime shootout match which sold more than 11,000 tickets.
These were the pre-Internet days, and even though both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony had heard of each other, the young prospects never had the chance to meet officially.
However, rather than forming a bitter rivalry, the friends immediately hit it off, given that the two were playing against each other. And even after 18 years, the basketball giants have successfully maintained their high school basketball friendship.
Basketball fans are no stranger to the fact that LeBron James’ massive career had dwarfed Anthony’s in the span of their friendship. However, we can say for sure that this has not affected their friendship by even one hoop! In fact, even their fellow hooper Dwayne Wade has presumably had a more successful career than Carmelo Anthony.
That night in 2002 planted the seeds for two of the era’s defining and most prospective players’ connections to basketball for decades to come. The two stars have always been seen as counterparts. They even teased LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony teaming up in the Howard Beck of Bleacher Report in 2015. And, the wishes have come true.
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony Career
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are two headliners to graduate the 2003 NBA draft class, which is also acclaimed for producing Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. After that, LeBron James went straight to No.1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Anthony went third to the Denver Nuggets.
They both entered the league as immediate contributors and became ready-made stars. However, Anthony’s career took a dip while James went on to become the face of the league. Their matches were regular primetime events that sold thousands of tickets.
Starting from 2007 to 2018, LeBron James has had an impressive career. He is considered one of the greatest players in the NBA league. He has been four-time MVPs, 11 All-NBA First Team Selections, 3 championships, and 9 Finals appearances.
Even Carmelo Anthony has produced a Hall-of-Fame worthy career that includes 9 All-Star Appearances, four All-NBA Team Selections, and a scoring title. Nonetheless, it is true that the basketball player couldn’t reach his potential the way he was expected, or at least in the way his fellow players made it.
From 2011 to 2018, LeBron James has played in eight straight Finals, and Anthony has played in six playoff series. His career went sideways following a trade from the New York Knicks to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.
Carmelo Anthony on Teaming Up With LeBron James
All things aside, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were always meant to play together. Carmelo Anthony had a connection to the Lakers ever since LeBron was signed to L.A. in 2018, but the official signing never took place.
Finally, this summer has brought the best news basketball fans could think of. A re-loaded Lakers squad signed Carmelo Anthony to a one-year veterans’ minimum contract for $2.6 million. For the basketball rookies, this means that LeBron James and Anthony have finally been united and will play together.
This is going to be a massive event in basketball history. Everyone knew that this was meant to happen, and thankfully this is the season when we will get to witness it.
On joining LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony said that the basketball legends used to always joke about the possibility of this happening. They were equally invested in the idea but thought that the odds of it happening were pretty crazy.
Keeping in mind where both of them are at their career now (LeBron James is still the best player in NBA history, and Anthony is just chasing a shifty championship at the end of his career), both are looking forward to playing together.
Carmelo Anthony also alluded that this would make their basketball brother, the late Kobe Bryant proud. Anthony had a unique bond with Kobe before his tragic death in early 2020.
In this season, Carmelo will come off the bench for the Lakers, which will star LeBron, Anthony Davis, Russel Westbrook, Wayne Ellington, and Trevor Ariza.
In related news, LeBron James is only two rings away from tying with his idol, Michael Jordan, who won six with the Chicago Bulls. With the help of his long-time friend and basketball brother Anthony, he will win his fifth title in the 2021-22 season.
This seems like a great time to be a basketball fan, doesn’t it?