Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony responds to Paul George, Kawhi Leonard’s comments about him
LOS ANGELES – Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony couldn’t help his team to victory on Tuesday night, but his return to the NBA has already been deemed a victory. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers led their team to victory, and were full of praise for the 10-time NBA All-Star in the days leading up to the game.
“It’s great,” George said after Sunday’s win over the Wizards. “Melo’s been a great player. He’s going to be a great player, he’s playing terrific from start to finish. Shoutout to Portland for opening that door back up for Melo and prolonging his career.”
“I’m happy for him, added Leonard. “I don’t think he was treated the right way, how they left him out there being a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s still got a lot of basketball left.”
Following Tuesday’s game, a huge media contingent turned out for Anthony’s first game in Los Angeles since his return to the NBA. Among them was what the comments from George and Leonard meant to him.
“It means a lot,” admitted Anthony after the loss. “The real ones know what’s going on. It’s not them. I’ve never had any issues with any of my colleagues saying anything about me. It’s the narrative that surrounds the game of basketball, that surrounds me, that everybody has. All of these cameras have their own opinion.
“It’s those things that come into play, which can easily allow somebody to get down on themselves, want to give up, want to not be motivated, but I was against all of that. I stayed with it, I stayed motivated, I pushed myself, and I worked on myself mentally and emotionally to be able to come back in this game and still be here and do what I do.”
Since his return, Anthony has averaged 17.7 points, 6.0 rebounds. and 2.2 assists on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. It hasn’t been easy, and he acknowledges there are still things he’s learning with his new team, but the Blazers have welcomed him in with open arms and allowed him to be himself.
“When someone makes you feel wanted, it makes things easier. Knowing the type of person Damian Lillard is. For him to open his home up, meaning Portland, to me and welcoming me with open arms and wanting me to be a part of what he created out there and what he had out there. You don’t take that for granted.”
Anthony and the Blazers have a quick turnaround as they take on the Sacramento Kings at home on Wednesday night at 7PM PST.