LeBron James Effusively Praises Carmelo Anthony For Desperately Clinging to His NBA Dream

LeBron James knows just how hard longtime friend and now Los Angeles Lakers teammate Carmelo Anthony had to work to reclaim his spot in the NBA. James made sure to give Anthony his praises after Melo spoke about his journey in the latest episode of HBO’s The Shop.

Carmelo Anthony’s son helped inspire him while he was out of the NBA

Carmelo Anthony was one of the top stars in the NBA. Then, suddenly, he was an unwanted commodity struggling to find a job.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Anthony to the Atlanta Hawks in the summer of 2018. He promptly agreed to a buyout with the Hawks and signed with the Houston Rockets, only to be traded and released just 10 games into the 2018-19 season.

Anthony would not find an employer for the remainder of that season and could not find a spot at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. His NBA future didn’t look bright. Still, Melo drew inspiration from an interesting source: his son.

On the latest episode of HBO’s The Shop, Anthony said that he was motivated by some of his sons’ teammates and opponents to keep pushing to get back into the league. That encouragement served Carmelo well, even if he had to be patient in waiting for an opportunity to arise.

Injuries prompted the Portland Trail Blazers to sign Anthony in the fall of 2019. He proved he could, in fact, still play at a high level and ultimately re-signed with the Blazers for the 2020-21 season.

Now, Anthony will try to win his first NBA title with LeBron James and the Lakers. For his part, James is absolutely thrilled that Carmelo never lost hope.

LeBron James applauded Anthony’s resilience

LeBron James likely never wavered in his feeling that Carmelo Anthony belonged on an NBA roster. James is immensely proud of his fellow 2003 NBA Draft class member for keeping the nose to the grindstone.

James quote-tweeted Anthony’s video snippet from The Shop and praised him for finding the drive to carry on. He also retweeted a quote from Anthony explaining the rigors of being an athlete.

It comes as little surprise that James showed big love to Anthony. The two have been friends for over 20 years. They were two of the most highly-touted prep prospects in the country and were two of the first three picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. Both men have also experienced the highs and lows of NBA superstardom.

James has long had to carry the mantle of being the NBA’s modern standard-bearer. That path has come with plenty of success but also plenty of scrutinies. Anthony is a multiple-time All-Star and former scoring champion. Yet, the absence of a championship ring has often loomed large in the context of his legacy.

Anthony’s long and winding path now leads him to the Lakers. James is thrilled to have him on board as LA tries to reclaim the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The Lakers will rely on a host of veteran players

New Lakers teammates LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony embrace during a 2020 playoff game
James and Anthony will try to lead the Lakers to a title | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is far from the only veteran guy to take his talents to LA.

The Lakers brought back Dwight Howard to solidify the defensive frontcourt. They are also the favorites to sign Rajon Rondo when he clears waivers on Monday.

All three of the former All-Stars will have a role to play. Howard provides rim protection and can be a rim-runner. Rondo is a playmaker and distributor who can spell Russell Westbrook. Anthony, meanwhile, gives the Lakers an additional scoring presence off the bench.

James will once again spearhead the Lakers’ title hopes, but this time he’ll have the chance to do so with one of his best friends in the league. Needless to say, LeBron is thrilled that Carmelo never gave up on his NBA dreams.

RELATED: Stephen A. Smith Puts LeBron James on Notice for Not Teaming up With Carmelo Anthony Until Now, Says He Did ‘Nothing’ When Melo ‘Couldn’t Get a Damn Job’