Lakers star Carmelo Anthony’s 3-word take on losing Rookie of the Year to LeBron James
When the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James first overall back in 2003, the Denver Nuggets immediately grabbed Carmelo Anthony with their third overall pick as soon as he was passed on by the Detroit Pistons.
The 2003 NBA Draft was very special given the presence of future Hall of Famers in LeBron, Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Melo was immediately attached to Denver, the same way the other three were attached to the cities that drafted them:
“I ain’t never seen no mountains before, I ain’t never seen no snow caps. It was hard, but you just felt the energy going into Denver. They just threw the ball at me — it’s yours. I was 19 when they did that. I ain’t think about no pressure. It was like, ‘this is mine.’ Bron had Cleveland, D-Wade was in Miami, Bosh was in Toronto, everybody had their own situation.
“You held your own team down back then. I jumped out to a great start in Denver. We made the playoffs seven years straight. My first year I made, Bron didn’t make it. It was like, ‘I loved Denver.’”
All four of them had remarkable rookie years, but the ultimate duel for Rookie of the Year went down to James and Anthony.
James managed to edge out Anthony in a tightly contested ROTY race. However, some say that Anthony was more deserving of the award since Melo averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals compared to LeBron’s 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.6 steals.
Another argument is that Anthony led the Nuggets to a No. 6 despite being a rookie in a tough Western Conference, while James and his Cavs missed the postseason.
In an interview with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on All The Smoke, Anthony was told that he should’ve won ROTY, and Melo couldn’t agree more:
“I should have.”
“We could have did Co, I thought we was gonna be Co (Co-rookies of the Year).”
Melo ultimately asked for a trade away from the Nuggets and wound up with the New York Knicks. After his stint with the Knicks, Melo has bounced around and at one point was out of the NBA for a year.
However, Melo found his way back when the Portland Trail Blazers took a chance on him. He immediately became a factor for them as a complementary piece.
Fast forward to this day, and LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are the only remaining active players from the 2003 draft class. The best of buddies are locked in and have their eyes set on winning a chip for the Los Angeles Lakers.
If the Lakers win it all, it would be the perfect ending for Anthony’s career because it would give him his first NBA championship.