As NBA legend Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement yesterday, there was plenty of discourse surrounding his overall legacy in the Association.

A top 10 scorer all-time and a Top 75 member, Melo’s legacy will undoubtedly be etched in history forever. Two main things were holding the future Hall of Famer back—the more selfish style of play and the failure to win an NBA championship.

Putting Mile High on the Map

In fairness to Melo, he’s primarily responsible for putting Denver basketball back on the map. Before the arrival of Anthony, the Nuggets were in an 8-year playoff drought. Although the Nuggets lost in the first round in Anthony’s rookie season to a contending Timberwolves team, he catapulted them from 17 wins to 43. From 2004 until Anthony departed for New York in 2011, the Nuggets made a yearly post-season appearance.

Looking at his playoff resumé and seeing that he only made the conference finals one time, there is still no denying that during his time, Anthony was a consensus top 15 player in the league and the best scorer in the league next to Kobe Bryant. With his volume-scoring prowess and consistent all-star play, Anthony did a lot for the city of Denver. Even with a cloudy departure, he elevated the franchise to heights they hadn’t seen since the Mutombo and Abdoul-Rauf led teams of the late 90s.

Broadway and Beyond

As mentioned, Anthony had a very muddled departure from Denver, seemingly forcing his way to New York. With a fresh start, it would seem that he and new teammate Amar’e Stoudemire would combat the newly formed Miami Heat for years to come. As history tells us, this all-star duo’s time would be extremely lackluster. While Anthony was still playing at a consistent All-Star level, Stoudemire would begin to struggle with injuries. His time with New York, from a team perspective, can be summed up in one word, underwhelming. Despite team struggles, Anthony reinvigorated New York basketball. That alone should make a significant mark on his legacy.

Though his legacy won’t necessarily be for being a winner, Anthony is still a proven all-time great. In his prime, he was considered to be a sure-fire floor raiser. His ability to dominate offensively could single handily carry a team to a post-season birth for years. Although his career post-New York was lackluster, there’s no taking away from his All-Star studded hall-of-fame career.

From a superstar in Denver to a 3-point specialist in Portland and L.A., there’s no denying that Carmelo Anthony demanded respect from NBA fans and his peers. Nikola Jokic is doing something unprecedented for the Denver franchise while wearing Anthony’s #15. There should be no world where both numbers aren’t retired in the Mile High City in the future.


Photo: Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports

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