New Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony was one of the NBA’s best scorers at the peak of his career, but for a time, it seemed like he might find himself out of the league if his game didn’t evolve. To the outside world, it seemed like Anthony still wanted to play as if he was a superstar after that time in his career had passed, and many teams would move on from him.
After failed stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, Anthony found himself not on a roster to start the 2019-20 season before being picked up by the Portland Trail Blazers. In Portland, Carmelo thrived in an off the bench role, greatly improving his outside shooting.
Some believed that Anthony wouldn’t be able to check his ego and accept a lesser role, but he admitted that it was something he had to do. “You just got to do it,” Anthony said. “You got to understand your surroundings, you got to understand the situation that you’re in and a lot of times it’s not always gonna be about you and some things are just not in your control at times.
“A lot of the situations I’ve been in, it wasn’t in my control. I was always like playing catch-up in a situation that I was in so now I’m able to kind of get this decision out the way, I’m cool now, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going or what training camp I’m gonna be in, what type of workouts I have to do.”
The Lakers’ front office has been great at communicating the expectations to players when they are considering joining the team. They make it clear that it may not always be a matter of big minutes every game. Carmelo understands his role on this Lakers team and he made it clear that his ego is not a problem.
“I’m smooth-sailing now, I can enjoy the rest of my summer, prepare for the season. I don’t have that much stress that I had going into the last couple seasons of not knowing what my situation was gonna be. So this was an easy one, we got it out the way. Ego is checked. My ego’s been checked because I understand that it’s all about having perspective on your situation. Again, most things, a lot of things in this league and in sports, it’s not in our control so we got to control what we can control and I’ve learned that over the years.”
Some players can never make that realization until after their career is over, and they look back on what could have been. It can be challenging for a player who has been the focal point for his entire career to suddenly be a role player.
Anthony has done just that, turning himself into an excellent complementary player, which the Lakers believe will help them get back to the championship level they desire.
Dwight Howard praises Carmelo Anthony’s work ethic
Regardless of his standing in the league, Carmelo Anthony has always had the respect of his fellow players, and Dwight Howard is one of those who has a lot of respect for the work that Carmelo has put in over the years. “Well, Melo has just always been a professional,” Howard said. “He’s always worked hard, he’s always giving 110% on the court. That’s all you can ask.
“There’s another side of basketball that people don’t really see and that’s the business side and some things are left out of our control and the one thing that he’s always been in control with is just how hard he works and what he does while he’s training.”
“And that’s why he’s been able to play for 19 years and just shows that his work ethic and his discipline, sacrifice has always been there. And now to top it all off this year hopefully at the end with a trophy, so I think the hard work that Melo has put in from Day 1 has allowed him to play this many years in the league.”