The Los Angeles Lakers signed Carmelo Anthony to a veteran minimum deal several weeks back.
Beyond just the fact that it would pair the former Syracuse star up with LeBron James, the player with whom he has been most closely linked to throughout his career, this move was also notable because of the role Anthony would have to play in LA.
A few years ago, when Anthony joined the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was asked about coming off the bench in order to help the team. His response to that query continues to follow him to this very day.
During his first media conference with the Lakers, Anthony was once more presented with the familiar question of how he’d feel about coming off the bench.
This time around, he took a far more mature approach.
“So, you go for 16, 17 years and you’re the guy on the team and you’re the star, and then all of a sudden somebody is like, ‘Listen, come off the bench.’ I had to swallow that ego,” he said. “I had to swallow that pride. But I also had to use that ego and that pride to keep me on edge and keep me motivated. And I’ve accepted that. It played out well in Portland.
“Again, that was my first time doing it and experiencing that at that level. But I enjoyed it. It was fun, it was basketball, and I was still able to do my thing and play ball and have fun and have the love for the game again. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen [with the Lakers], you know what I’m saying? I just know I’m prepared, like I’m ready, you know what I’m saying? I’m ready to go play basketball. I know what’s at stake here and I’m totally locked.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 15, 2021
Last year Anthony averaged 13.4 points while shooting nearly 41 percent from beyond the arc for the Blazers. He did that while starting in just three outings all season. Clearly he has accepted his new role in the NBA, and last year at least, he thrived in it.
This has been a hectic few months for Anthony off the court. Between his very public separation from La La, damaging text messages emerging and the chatter about Kevin Durant and La La – there is a lot of outside noise that he has had to drown out.
If he can continue to drown it out, though, and if he can play well with the Lakers, Anthony may just walk away with the one accomplishment that has eluded him for the entirety of his career – an NBA title.