May 29, 1985
Brooklyn, New York, United States
La La Anthony
For more than a decade, Carmelo Anthony set the bar for excellence in scoring as a member of both the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. Born Carmelo Kyam Anthony on May 29, 1985 in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, he lost his namesake father, Carmelo Iriarte, at the age of two, and relocated with his mother, Mary, and three older siblings to Baltimore, Maryland. The city's high rate of drug-related crime was a challenge for his mother, who pushed her children to focus on their schoolwork. Sports also became a diversion, especially for Anthony, who by his early teens had grown to 6'5"; he soon became a star basketball player for Townson Catholic High School, and was named player of the year by several county and city sports groups in his junior year. Division 1 scouts soon took notice of Anthony, and he declared his intention to play for Syracuse University in his junior year. His grades, however, were below the school's standards, and Anthony completed his senior year of high school at Oak Hill Academy, which boasted numerous National Basketball League (NBA) and college stars among its alumni. While further honing his basketball skills - he was ranked the No. 1 high school senior by HoopScoop in 2002 - he also boosted his academic record and entered Syracuse in the fall of that year. He would play a single season with the Orangemen, averaging 22.2 points and 10 rebounds while also leading the team to its first NCAA tournament title in 2003 before announcing his eligibility for the 2003 NBA draft. Anthony was picked third overall by the Denver Nuggets, and almost immediately established himself as a powerhouse for the team: by his sixth outing as a Nugget, he became the second youngest player in NBA history to score 30 points in a single game, and by the following year, he was the third-youngest player to reach 1,000 points. He would end the year with an average of 21 points and six rebounds per game, as well as all Six Rookie of the Month awards and second place in voting for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award behind LeBron James. After earning a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Anthony resumed his stellar play for the Nuggets, averaging 20.8 points per game in 2004-2005 and 26.6 the following season and leading the team to the playoffs from 2005 to 2010. But while his game play was unimpeachable, Anthony was also cultivating a reputation for impulsive behavior. He was cited for marijuana possession at Denver International Airport in 2004, and caught striking New York Knicks player Mardy Collins in a 2006 brawl at Madison Square Garden that earned him a 15-game suspension. Thankfully, his talents went untouched by these incidents, and he continued to bring the Nuggets to the playoffs until 2011, when he was traded to the New York Knicks. His first two seasons were marked by injuries and conflict with head coach Mike D'Antoni, who was replaced by Mike Woodson in 2011. But both he and the team rebounded by 2012; with Anthony's help, the Knicks earned their first playoff win in more than a decade, and he would guide them through highs and lows over the next three years until announcing that would opt out of his contract with the team. However, Anthony reconsidered and signed a five-year deal with the franchise. He kicked off the 2014-2015 season by becoming the 10th active player to reach 20,000 career points and reaching his eighth All-Star Game. Anthony continued to shatter records in the 2016-2017 year: he was the third player in NBA history to score 10,000 points for two franchises and passed the 24,000 career point in a game against the Indiana Pacers in 2017. His third gold medal win at the 2016 Olympics also made him the most decorated Olympic basketball player in history.