Syracuse Basketball: Carmelo Anthony retires a champion on and off court

Syracuse basketball, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Carmelo Anthony (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Former Syracuse basketball legend Carmelo Anthony, who is set to turn 39 soon, has retired from professional hoops, he said in a touching video on his Twitter page.

Melo, as all of us Orange fans out there love to call him, may not have won an NBA title in his 19 years in the league – in fact, he never reached the NBA Finals, making the Western Conference Finals once over his long pro career that saw him suit up for numerous teams, most recently the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021-22 season.

But not winning an NBA championship doesn’t in any way detract from the illustrious career that Carmelo Anthony put forth – a 20-year tenure, if you include his one title-producing season in Central New York.

His list of accolades, starting with Syracuse basketball and including the NBA and USA Basketball, is mighty extensive. A 10-time NBA All-Star, a six-time All-NBA selection, the No. 9 scorer in the history of the NBA, and inclusion on the league’s 75th-anniversary team, among other achievements.

Syracuse basketball icon Carmelo Anthony retires as a true champion on and off the court.

In his lone season with the ‘Cuse, Melo averaged about 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. He played a key role as Syracuse basketball won the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Carmelo Anthony was named the most outstanding player of the 2003 Final Four.

During the 2002-03 campaign, Melo was also the national freshman of the year and a second-team All-American. Selected No. 3 overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2003 NBA Draft, Carmelo Anthony competed for Denver, the New York Knicks, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Lakers.

Carmelo Anthony won a scoring title with the Knicks during the 2012-13 season, when he averaged 28.7 points per contest. Over the course of his NBA career, Melo tallied averages of 22.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals per encounter, while connecting on roughly 45 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 81 percent from the charity stripe.

Beyond his accomplishments for Syracuse basketball and in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony is perhaps the most successful player in the history of USA Basketball. He was a three-time gold medalist – in 2008, 2012 and 2016 – and also claimed a bronze medal in 2004.

Per a story by The Associated Press on ESPN’s Web site, Melo is the first men’s Olympic basketball player to capture three gold medals. He’s also, throughout those four different Olympic games, suited up in 31 contests, the most ever for a USA Basketball men’s player.

What Carmelo Anthony, a surefire NBA Hall of Famer in the future, has been doing off the court in recent years, though, is equally as important as his feats on the court. He is dedicated to pursuing social justice and in late June of 2021, Melo received the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award while playing for the Trail Blazers.

More details about his social-justice initiatives can be found by reading this official press release from the NBA.

In his video announcing his retirement from professional basketball, Carmelo Anthony said that his greatest legacy is his son, Kiyan. Melo added that it’s now time for his son “to carry this torch.” That’s really beautiful.

Kiyan Anthony, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, is a four-star prospect in the 2025 class. He was offered a scholarship by the Orange coaching staff last November. Lately, he has seen his offer sheet significantly expand.

It remains to be seen whether Kiyan Anthony, a rising junior at Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, N.Y., will ultimately don a Syracuse basketball uniform down the line, but all of us ‘Cuse fanatics out there will be watching his recruitment closely.

In the meantime, I want to thank his dad, Carmelo Anthony, for all the wonderful things he has done for Syracuse basketball, the NBA, USA Basketball and numerous other endeavors with which he’s involved. Appreciate you and love you, Melo.

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