After being named the NBA's Player of the Week, Carmelo Anthony sat down with ESPN's Rachel Nichols and reflected on what it was like to be in exile from the league for over a year.
"I was ready to walk away, yeah," Anthony said. "It was hard. But there came a point when I was, like, 'You know what? I've given a lot to this game. I played 15, 16 years in this game. I'm ready to give it up, because I just knew that at that point in time from a basketball standpoint, that narrative that it -- it was already out there. So I'd been fightin' an uphill battle anyway if I didn't go to the right situation."
Anthony was clearly fighting his demons during his impatient wait for another chance. The whole time, he knew what he was capable of, and knew what would happen if things failed to work out again. Fortunately, he seems to have found a diamond in the ruff.
"I say that because I know what I can do," Anthony said. "So if I were just to go to a team and to a situation just to be on the team and it didn't work out, it was gonna come back on me anyway. Like, the blame is gonna be on me anyway. So a situation like Portland, where I could just come in and just play my game and have a group of guys that really want me, and the organization that want me."
And no, he never called LeBron James to bail him out.
“I never called him and said, ‘What’re we doin’?’ Or ‘I need you to do this for me,’ ” Anthony told ESPN‘s Rachel Nichols. “I would never do that. I would never put him in that situation. I don’t know what he’s doin’ on his side, but I would never put him, as a friend, as a brother, in that situation. Right, and I know for a fact, he would go to bat for me, but I don’t feel comfortable putting people in that situation, whether you’re my friend or not.”
Anthony's return has been anything from perfect, and the stat geeks are already starting to bark. But his incredible 6-game sequence definitely proves he still belongs, and the Blazers definitely want him to stick around.