Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony remembers when he first met Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo remembers the first time he had to go against Carmelo Anthony. For Melo it was just another day in the office, but the then-New York Knicks star would soon find out the kid from Greece had the right cojones to take him on.
Now a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, Melo reminisced on the first time he matched up against Antetokounmpo on Dec. 18, 2013:
“I just remember him being out there and him trying to find his way and figure out what he was going to do in the game, like what was his role,” Anthony said after putting up 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the Blazers’ 137-129 loss Thursday night, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It was new to him. Any time you come from, he played international, overseas to the NBA like that, it’s a big change. It’s a big culture shift. I’m sure for him and his family, it was a lot different at that moment.”
Backtrack six years ago and Anthony was still in his prime, getting up 20 shots per game and destroying plenty of NBA defenses. Antetokounmpo was only playing around 24 minutes per game in his rookie season, but he dedicated those to defend Anthony, never backing down from the challenge.
“I appreciated that,” Anthony said. “And that was something I actually enjoyed when guys took that task.”
Melo scored a team-high 29 points and his Knicks got the win over the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was 9-of-29 from the floor in a six-point win.
Now with the roles reversed — Antetokounmpo a reigning MVP and Anthony trying to find his footing to stay in the league, it’s fun seeing how the circle of life has evolved for these two players.