Carmelo Anthony On Friendship With LeBron James: "We Go Back 15, 16 Years Old. We Never Had To Force Anything—A Conversation, Being Around Each Other."

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LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony go way back. They've been friends since before entering the NBA, and are often seen together on vacation. Their bond goes way beyond the basketball court.

Anthony and LeBron even starred in that now-famous Banana Boat crew vacation, and Melo once told the story of how James saved him from drowning.

That's why it's so special for them to play together next season for the first time in their NBA careers, and why Melo recently opened up on how they managed to grow so closely:

"We go back (to when we were) 15, 16 years old. We never had to force anything—a conversation, being around each other. It just happens so organically with us. We put an oath up, no matter what happens, we would never let any outsiders come between us and put any BS in our friendship. I could knock your head off on the court; you could knock my teeth out on the court. It don’t matter. When we get outside that rectangle, we’re brothers— no matter what anybody says. And, we stood on that. And to this day, we stand on that. Nobody will break that bond," Anthony told Ebony.

This isn't the first time that Anthony addresses their friendship. Recently, he told the story about how it all started when they were in high school:

“When I get to Oak, LeBron happened to be in Oak the previous year. I’m like, I gotta play against him, it’s in the schedule. We gotta make it happen…” Anthony said on All The Smoke.

“We get the jersey, we get to the prime-time shootout and we come in the hotel, and… he… you Melo? Yeah! It was All-Star weekend in Philly too. And we sat on the steps for hours the night before that game. I don’t know nothing about you doug, you don’t know nothing about me.”

“We clicked in after that moment, we just felt like we’re from similar backgrounds, similar home, broken family, grown up in the hood. So we connected for that, before basketball. I was looking for that type of relationship… brotherhood.”

Clearly, their relationship is bigger than basketball. And even if the Lakers experiment doesn't work, they'll always be family.