Carmelo Anthony: Nuggets gave No. 15 to Nikola Jokic to erase my legacy

Carmelo Anthony is upset.

The retired Knicks legend who started his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets had some choice words for the organization that drafted him third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Anthony, who wore No. 15 with the Nuggets before switching to No. 7 after joining the Knicks, called it “a petty maneuver” for Denver to allow Nikola Jokic to wear the same number he wore with the Nuggets.

In an episode of his new show with Mero, 7PM in Brooklyn, Anthony even suggested the Nuggets forced the No. 15 on Jokic, who they selected 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, in an effort to “erase” the memory of the Anthony’s time in Denver.

“What I believe is that they gave him 15 to try to erase what I did,” said Anthony, who averaged 24.8 points over his seven-plus seasons with the Nuggets. “When you think of 15 in Denver now, to this generation, you [think the] Joker. And there’s nothing towards that. It’s just, it was two different generations. So that just goes to show me that y’all [The Nuggets] not past that moment. This is 2010. This is 13 years ago. So if you are, you are holding on to something that was 13 years ago.”

Anthony said he felt disrespected when he went back to Denver for the first time after the trade, only to see the No. 15 in rotation again.

“Yeah, it was a petty maneuver. It wasn’t like, ‘oh, we got numbers to choose from.’ It was like, ‘here, you got 15,’” he said. “Now I’m gone now. So now I’m seven. Now, like seven is the new thing. I’m in the Mecca. I’m back. I’m in it. It’s a god’s number. So I’m not even thinking about 15. I’m just thinking, this is a chapter of my life.

“I didn’t go to Denver for about two years after that, two seasons because of lockout and the scheduling and all that crazy s–t, right? So now I’m seeing Denver 15. I’m like, ‘F–k is going on? 15?’…The disrespect in you offering that showed me that you just wanted to erase everything that came prior to that right there.

“So yeah, f–k yall. You saying f–k me dead smack to the rest of the world. I ain’t never said nothing bad about y’all. You booed me. You booed me and I had 40. You booed me and I had 50.”

“And y’all put Jokic in the middle of that. He don’t know what the f–k going on. He could have been like, ‘Oh 15 is here. I want to wear 15.’ [The organization is supposed to say] that’s Melo’s number. He could have wore it because he wanted to to pay homage [to me].

“But what I believe is they gave him 15 to try to erase what I did.”

Unfortunately for Anthony, Jokic has already spoken on the No. 15, which he has worn since his youth playing days.

In fact, Orlando Magic star Paolo Banchero asked Jokic about the importance of the number in a TikTok video the Magic posted during the offseason.

Jokic has worn the No. 15 both with the Serbian national team and during his time with the Nuggets.

“I was chubby. I was big [as a kid],” he said. “And No. 15 was the biggest jersey. I just stuck with it, but I like it.”


The former Knicks star also believes New York can make the Eastern Conference Finals now that they traded for OG Anunoby.

The Knicks entered Thursday’s matchup against the Dallas Mavericks with a perfect 5-0 record after trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn.

Anthony said the Knicks’ style of play under head coach Tom Thibodeau lends itself to winning playoff basketball games.

“I think they can [make the Conference Finals]. Not many teams [are] structured that way, like, to stop you first,” he said. “They are created and built to stop the other team, like defense first. The only thing that comes down to that is no matter how great your defense is, offense always outweighs. The game is about a bucket, so you could play all the defense that you want in the world…You got to score to win the game…

“Defense is just to control the game and possessions, you know what I mean? Like let’s win every possession. So you got to lock down, you got to lock in, you got to focus. It’s more team defense in the post season.”

The Knicks have been a much more sound defensive team since trading for Anunoby, whose plus-minus numbers have been off the charts since his arrival in New York.

Anthony believes Anunoby can replicate Barrett’s offensive production while still being a force on the defensive end.

“OG [Anunoby] could do the same thing RJ [is] doing. He just don’t demand it the way that RJ demanded to be a part of the offense,” he said. “Like, OG is cool sitting on the wing and moving around and cutting and waiting for somebody to swing into him and knock down a three. He still is going to play defense no matter what.”