CJ and Carmelo Discuss Cancelled Games, Anthony's Arrival In Portland

by Casey Holdahl
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Carmelo Anthony joined CJ McCollum on the most recent edition of his "Pullup" podcast, a recording which also coincided with the NBA announcing that the remainder of the 2019-20 season would be postponed for at least 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two discuss their initially thoughts on the cancellation, with both emphasizing the importance of professional athletes planning ahead for an uncertain future (which also applies to just about everyone). 

But while the issues with COVID-19 are certainly at the forefront of everyone's mind, McCollum, being the good interviewer that he is, gets the show back on track by refocusing on Anthony's mindset when the was out of work, his return to the NBA and his arrival in Portland. Some of the more interesting quotes...

Carmelo on signing with Portland...

"I think the biggest part of it was I had to be right mentally, I had to be right emotionally and spiritually.  What I always tell people now is Portland came at a pivotal time in my life and my career. I needed Portland at this point in time, what I was looking for as far as on the court and off the court. I needed it, I needed the serenity of being in Portland, I need the space, I needed this me time to figure out me at the end of the day and to get my mind right and to focus on my body and emotionally. I really needed Portland. As much as they needed me from a basketball standpoint, I needed Portland for other reasons. I always say ‘God don’t make no mistakes’ and this came at a pivotal time for me and I’m taking advantage of it. And as you can see, it shows, right? I’m not talking from a basketball standpoint, it’s just the happiness and just being here and just being around the guys and being able to love the game again and travel and talk and give my experience and give my knowledge to people. That’s what’s most important to me at this point."

On his thoughts when it seemed as though he might not get another shot in the NBA...

"When the unfortunateness happened, it was like, I started questioning myself why. Why? What happened? What did I do? Did I do something wrong? Was it me? Am I good? Can I still play? It was like all of these thoughts started to come in and that stuck with me for about four, five months. It wasn’t until I started incorporating myself into my son’s basketball and his life. I started going on trips with my AAU program and I started to be around the kids and one part of me was like, really embarrassed. I was embarrassed being around the kids. You know kids is very honest, so I didn’t want to deal with those questions. ‘Yo, what happened Melo? What happened?’ I didn’t want to deal with that. ‘Man, what happened?” I didn’t want to deal with that, so I was embarrassed to like, go to the tournaments. And then my wife was like, ‘Yo, what are you doing? You’re going to this tournament.’ My son is like ‘Dad, you’re not going?’ and I usually tried to make excuses like ‘Nah, you know what, I might be signing with a team next week.’ So I had to deal with all of that but I was just masking emotions and frustrations and then I was like ‘I’m gonna go.’ I had a real conversation with my wife and she was just like ‘You know what, at the end of the day, if it’s over, it’s over. But you can’t control that. You’ve been in the league 16 years, who can say that they lasted 16 year in the NBA at your level?’ And I’m just like, you know, that makes a lot of sense but I still wasn’t trying to hear it."

Carmelo on how he judges teammates...

"When you ask somebody ‘Who is your favorite teammate?’ they gonna go off the relationship that they have with that person. How do we get along? Are we familiar with each other? Do we hang out with each other? I judge you off of how do you prepare? How do you come to work every single day? How do you get along with everybody? How do you get along with the rookie? How do you get along with the 15-year vet? How do you treat the audio/visual guy? That’s how I judge my teammates. When we go into the trenches, where you at? What is your preparation? What is your mindset? What are you thinking about? Are you willing to put your mind and your body on the line and do what it takes to win this one basketball game? Let’s lock in. That’s how I judge teammates."

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