Father time is undefeated, as there always comes a time in a player’s career when he realizes he is not as good as he used to be. It can be hard to comprehend at times, but accepting a new role is crucial if you want to continue your NBA life. Some players easily transition to being role players, but that can be a tricky process with superstars. Being the man and star of an NBA team is a luxurious and prestigious spot that nobody wants to give up easily.
We have seen numerous former All-Star players take smaller roles with their teams, better suited for their current skillset and athletic abilities – one of those guys is Carmelo Anthony. It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that Carmelo was one of the most dominant offensive players in the league, regarded as one of the best scorers in the NBA. After his best days with the Nuggets and the Knicks, Carmelo’s career started to go on a downward spiral. After disappointing stints with the Thunder and Rockets, Carmelo was one foot out of the league and regarded as a washed star, not ready to accept he is not the guy anymore. Especially after his introductory press conference with the Thunder, in which he laughed off the possibility of coming off the bench.
After over a year out of the league, the Blazers gave Melo a shot to prove he still has a place in this league, and he delivered. It wasn’t the Carmelo we used to know, but he bought into the role, played as part of the supporting cast to Damian Lillard, showing he can play in that role and be effective. After two good seasons in Portland, establishing his place back in the league, Carmelo made waves this offseason, as he joined his buddy Lebron in Los Angeles to form one of the newest super-teams filled with veteran players that are still stars or at least used to be stars.
Carmelo has matured in the past couple of years and shown he is aware of the fact he isn’t the player he used to be, as he spoke about adapting to the new role in the twilight of his career.
“I had to figure out a way how to motivate myself and keep myself going in a different position, in a different role. So, you go for 16, 17 years and you’re the guy on the team and you’re the star, and then all of a sudden somebody is like, ‘Listen, come off the bench,’ I had to swallow that ego. I had to swallow that pride. But I also had to use that ego and that pride to keep me on edge and keep me motivated. And I’ve accepted that.”
Carmelo Anthony, The Athletic
At 37 years old, Carmelo is aware he will be far from the main star of the team, but if he gives them a valuable scoring punch and shooting ability of the bench, he will vastly contribute to the Lakers being a serious contender. After all, we are talking about a 10x All-Star with a scoring title back in 2013. The athletic ability may not be there anymore, but a shooting touch is timeless, as this could be the best chance for Carmelo to win a ring and add to his already impressive resume.