After a decade-long courtship that had its various twists and turns, Carmelo Anthony is finally a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, something he never thought would actually happen. And although Anthony is no longer in the prime of his career, it’s hard to imagine the hype around his arrival would have been much different than it is now.
In the Lakers’ home-opener against the Golden State Warriors last week, Anthony was given a roaring standing ovation from the fans at Staples Center, and they’ve shown enthusiasm for his presence in every game since. The Laker faithful clearly have a respect for the future Hall of Famer, and that respect is mutual, according to Anthony.
“It just made me feel at home,” Anthony said of the reception in his debut. “Like, it didn’t feel like this was a new environment or situation. I felt right at home, I felt comfortable coming right in and playing. But just hearing the fans cheer for me the way that they cheered and stand up and give me that ovation, that will always make you feel good, make you feel comfortable, make you feel confident.
“Especially coming from Lakers fans, because I’ve been battling the Lakers so many times for so many years, so for them to be cheering for me wearing a Laker uniform, it’s a different feeling. I can tell you that.”
A big part of Anthony’s popularity has to do with the fact that he’s one of the last remaining players from the 2000s era of the NBA, but he’s done a lot to endear himself to Lakers fans in a short amount of time as well. Through three games, Anthony has averaged 17.7 points per game on 51.4% shooting from the field and 66.7% shooting from 3-point range.
Obviously Melo has some pretty glaring holes in his game at this stage of his career — and he’s not always going to go off for 25-plus points — but if he can continue to provide the Lakers a spark off of the bench and make defenses pay for leaving him open, then it’s hard to imagine him losing his good standing in Los Angeles.