You can argue that Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers that the NBA has ever seen. When he came into the league in 2003, Anthony knew how to score at a high level. During his prime, he was considered to be one of the top scorers in the league.
When Anthony joined the New York Knicks, that brought a lot of excitement to New York City, but Anthony had one request and needed a teammate to cooperate.
Finding a new number in New York
In 2011, Anthony arrived in New York to join the Knicks. Before joining the Knicks, he had a successful career playing for the Denver Nuggets. While in Denver, he wore No. 15. That number was retired by the Knicks for Earl Monroe and Dick McGuire.
So, Anthony had to find another number to wear. When he realized he could not wear No. 15, he wanted to wear his high school number, which was 22. But unfortunately for Anthony, that number was retired for Dave DeBusschere. It just seemed like Anthony could not catch a break on finding a number to wear.
Here you have one of the best players in the league at the time, and he can’t find a number to wear with his new team. So, the next number that Anthony came up with would require him to spend some money.
Paying to switch from No. 15 to No. 7
Anthony would finally settle on a number, and that was No. 7. The reasoning behind that number was because his son’s birthday is on March 7th. Also, if you subtract Anthony’s number that he wore in Denver and his high school number, that equals seven.
So, Anthony was able to decide on a number, but he had to do something in order to wear it. There was a Knicks’ player who already wore No. 7 when Anthony joined the team. That player was Kelenna Azubuike. Anthony was willing to pay Azubuike to wear his jersey.
When Azubuike found out that Anthony wanted to pay him to wear his jersey, he was all for it. But when Anthony gave Azubuike a check for the jersey, Azubuike thought the amount was a mistake at first. In an article from nbcsports.com, Azubuike talked about how much money Anthony gave him for the jersey. Azubuike was expecting a lot more than $3,000 from Anthony, especially since Anthony is worth a lot of money.
Looking back at Anthony’s jersey switch
Everything did work out, and Anthony did eventually get to wear No. 7 with the Knicks. Azubuike, who currently is a color analyst for the Golden State Warriors, still remembers how the whole situation went down when Anthony wanted to wear his number.
“I’ve seen people pay people for jersey numbers, 50, 100 thousand, I’m thinking 20 racks minimum. And my boys are hyping me up, and I walk in the next day, and he had a check for 3,000 dollars,” Azubuike said in the NBC Sports article. Azubuike was too afraid to approach Anthony for more money, but it’s always something he can look back on and joke around about it.