After 18 years of being in the league together, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are finally teammates together. Anthony joined the Los Angeles Lakers on a veteran's minimum contract to team up with his close friend in pursuit of an NBA championship.
Melo mentioned in the past that LeBron James reached out to him to join the Lakers this offseason, and mentioned that the timing felt right to join his close friend now. But what did it take for Anthony to be convinced that now was the right time to play with LeBron?
According to Anthony, he felt that LeBron James had to tell him that he needed him to join the Lakers. While their friendship has been strong for a long time, Melo needed that verbal affirmation from his friend that he wanted to play alongside him to win an NBA championship.
“I know our friendship. I know our brotherhood that we have. I know the connection that we have. And over the years, we’ve kind of been dipping and dabbing at, ‘Oh let’s play together, let’s do this or let’s do that.’ But it wasn’t that. And at his point in time, where we both are in our careers, I think we both needed to hear that. I needed to hear, ‘I need you. I want you. Let’s go.’ I really needed to hear that affirmation. Whereas before it was just, ‘Yo, come on, I think this would be cool. I think this would be dope. Let’s make it happen.’ It was a different feeling. It was a different vibe at this point.”
Anthony has been in the league for 18 years now and was part of the same draft class as James. He's been one of the best players in the league, but he hasn't come close to winning an NBA championship. With the Lakers, Anthony is on a championship contender for the first time since his days with the Denver Nuggets.
For Melo, he has been hoping to play with LeBron James for quite some time now. But the timing never felt right, and they didn't team up with each other. Anthony has bounced around the league for the last few years, going to the Knicks, OKC, the Rockets, the Trail Blazers, before now joining the Lakers.