Carmelo Anthony will one day be a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Between what he accomplished in college, his individual scores in the NBA and his time with USA Basketball in three Olympics, he deserves this honor.
The only thing he hasn’t accomplished in the game is winning an NBA title. To remedy this, Anthony signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2021-22 season. If he can do that, he will join an incredible eight-member club. One of his new teammates, Anthony Davis, is already part of the exclusive group. However, his good friend LeBron James will never be able to make the list.
Carmelo Anthony tries to join club LeBron James can’t get in because he didn’t go to college
Anthony was the # 1 high school rookie in 2002 in ESPN’s Top 100, ahead of well-known names like Amar’e Stoudamire (# 2), Chris Bosh (# 13), JJ Redick (# 37) and Deron Williams (# 100). He chose to play for coach Jim Boeheim in Syracuse. The team won the 2002-03 NCAA National Championship, beating Kansas in the final game 81-78.
The Oak Hill Academy star used his college success to become the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft behind James and Darko Milicic. Anthony played more than seven seasons with the Denver Biggest before forcing a trade with the New York Knicks. After more than six seasons in the Big Apple, Melo played one season in Houston, another in Oklahoma City and two more in Portland.
All in all, Anthony has built a career in the NBA Hall of Fame. He has made 10 All-Star Games, seven All-NBA teams and is 10th all-time in career NBA points with 27,370 (and second on the active roster behind James).
Despite all of the individual successes, Anthony never played in an NBA Finals. However, he found success in international basketball, winning Olympic gold medals for the US team in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Now, at 37, Anthony has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2021-22 season in hopes of winning an NBA championship. If he does, he will join an incredibly exclusive roster of just eight players in basketball history who have won an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal and the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The eight players who won the NCAA, NBA and Olympic championships
Being a champion in college, among the pros, and on the international stage is an incredibly rarefied air. The current roster of which Carmelo Anthony is seeking to become the ninth member is as follows:
- Clyde Lovellette – 1952 NCAA Championship with the University of Kansas, 1952 gold medal in Helsinki, Finland, NBA Championships with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954 and Boston Celtics in 1963 and 1964.
- Bill Russell – 1955 and 1956 NCAA Championships with the University of San Francisco, 1956 gold medal in Melbourne, Australia, NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics in 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 , 1968 and 1969.
- KC Jones – 1955 and 1956 NCAA Championships with the University of San Francisco, 1956 gold medal in Melbourne, Australia, NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966.
- Jerry Lucas – 1960 NCAA Championship with Ohio State, 1960 gold medal in Rome, Italy, NBA Championship with New York Knicks in 1973.
- Quinn Buckner – 1960 NCAA Championship with Indiana University, 1976 gold medal in Montreal, Canada, NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 1984.
- Magic Johnson – 1982 NCAA Championships with Michigan State University, 1992 gold medal in Barcelona, Spain, NBA Championships with LA Lakers in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.
- Michael Jordan – 1982 NCAA Championship with the University of North Carolina, gold medals in 1984 and 1992 in Los Angeles, California and Barcelona, Spain, NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998.
- Anthony Davis – 2012 NCAA Championships with the University of Kentucky, 2012 gold medal in London, England, NBA Championship with the LA Lakers in 2020.
This is the group Anthony will try to join when he wears the iconic purple and gold next season.
Anthony is the latest NBA player to join late-career Lakers in a bid for a title
While trying to become the ninth player to win those three major titles is something few players can do, joining the LA Lakers to chase a late career title isn’t so unique.
The best known examples are Karl Malone (40 at the time) and Gary Payton (35), who played with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in Hollywood during the 2003-04 season. The team lost 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, and neither player ever got a ring.
The strategy worked for Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, who came to Los Angeles between the ages of 30 and 34 and won titles in 1982 and 1985. Mychal Thompson (32-36) spent the last years of his career in The Forum and won in 1987 and 1988.
Mitch Richmond (36) won his first and only NBA title in his only season with the Lakers. He won the 2002 NBA Championship and quickly retired.
Steve Nash (38-39) also joined the Lakers in his last seasons. He won a championship in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. These teams lost in the first round of the playoffs in the first year and completely missed the playoffs in the second.
Dwight Howard came to the West Coast with the dream of a title the same year as Nash, to no avail. However, he returned in 2019-2020 and won a ring in the NBA bubble at age 34.
Now it’s Carmelo Anthony’s turn. The difference is, if he wins a ring, he will join some of the greatest of all time.
All statistics are courtesy of Basketball Reference
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