Carmelo Anthony is officially one of the 10 most accomplished scorers in NBA history.
The former third overall pick and 10-time All-Star passed Elvin Hayes for 10th on the league’s all-time scoring list in Monday’s game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks. Anthony achieved the feat in vintage fashion, pulling and drilling a jumper before his defender could close out in time.
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2021
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 4, 2021
“If you’re in the top 10 of anything of all time, it’s a special moment,” said Anthony, who’s in his 18th NBA season and turns 37 before the month is out.
Anthony was fully aware of how many points he needed to surpass Hayes.
“I knew this moment,” he said. “I didn’t know those other moments — 15, 13, 11. But 10 is something I knew.”
The NBA scoring champion in 2012-13 and a six-time All-NBA selection, Anthony poured in over 24,000 of his career points during prominent tenures with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. The former Syracuse standout missed just one All-Star game from 2007 through 2017 while adding a pair of Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball to his resume.
It appeared Anthony was headed for a forced retirement after he played just 10 games during the 2018-19 season.
He parted ways with Houston, was waived by Chicago and didn’t hook up with Portland until the next season was several weeks old. This season, he’s shooting a career-high 40.3% from 3-point range while coming off the bench for the playoff-hopeful Blazers.
During his time with the Trail Blazers, Anthony has passed nine players on the career scoring list.
He knocked off Alex English, Kevin Garnett, John Havlicek and Paul Pierce last season. He’s taken down Tim Duncan, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon and now Hayes this season.
Next up for Anthony: Moses Malone at 27,409 points.
Melo’s got a good chance at catching him, too, by the end of the regular season.
“For Melo to be out a year and come back makes it even more remarkable,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “I always appreciate greatness, whether it’s a player I’m coaching or coaching against. Melo is a great player. He’s a Hall of Fame player.”
Afterward, Stotts presented Anthony with a game ball in the locker room.
“We need to acknowledge milestones,” the coach said. “This is a big one. Top 10 of all time. That’s big time.”
“A couple years ago I ain’t think I was gonna be in this moment. I was out the league for whatever reason… I’m back. I persevered. I stayed strong I stayed true to myself & now I’m here in the Top 10.” pic.twitter.com/QkmI0FbF3S
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 4, 2021
After his teammates finished clapping, Anthony said, “A couple of years ago, I didn’t think I was gonna be in this moment right now. I was out the league for whatever reason. I’m back. I persevered. I stayed strong, I stayed true to myself and now I’m here in the top 10.”
He’s not done yet.
”I’m still enjoying the game,” Anthony said. “I’m still loving the game. I’m still approaching the game the same way.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.