New York basketball fans love Carmelo Anthony.
While he hasn’t played for the Knicks since 2017, fans made that fact more than clear on Sunday afternoon during the Knicks’ 106-97 loss to the Miami Heat, and gave Anthony a standing ovation when he was announced.
Carmelo Anthony got a warm welcome back to the Garden 👏
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) January 28, 2019
The ovation grabbed the attention of LeBron James, too, who congratulated Anthony on Twitter.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 28, 2019
Anthony played for the Knicks from 2011-2017, before spending a season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and then just 10 games with the Houston Rockets this year.
He left the Rockets after a rough start to the season, and was traded to the Chicago Bulls earlier this month. While he’s technically on their roster, the Bulls have no intention of playing the 34-year-old veteran. Instead they intend to waive or trade him before the February 7 deadline.
While Heat star and fellow 2003 draft classmate Dwyane Wade knows it’ll take a special situation for Anthony to succeed in the league, he said Melo is still more than capable of doing so with the right team.
“It’s about the right fit,” Wade told the New York Post. “The toughest part is — for GMs, presidents, owners and players — is how to handle an aging superstar in this game. It has to all work perfectly. Everyone has to make the right sacrifices, has to be the right group and coach. It has to work perfectly when it’s an aging star in this game. Unfortunately in Houston, it wasn’t the right fit. But Carmelo can play basketball.”
Considering how his exit from the Rockets went down, Wade said Anthony is in good spirits.
Anthony echoed that statement, and said he only wants to do what’s best for him during the back half of his career.
“As this point, I just want to be happy,” Anthony told the New York Post. “I think I’ve put myself in a good, peaceful mind state right now and be able to focus in on what I need to focus in on. Whatever’s gonna make me happy, then we’re gonna make it happen.”
While Anthony may be in limbo across the league in the near future, Wade said there’s no doubt he made a massive impact while playing in New York City.
“I thought he brought an exciting brand of basketball for the city,” Wade told the New York Post. “He embraced being here. Not a lot of athletes can embrace what comes with playing in the Garden and playing in New York. Carmelo embraced it. He had an amazing run here with this team. As an individual player he did some incredible things.”
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