The great “Melo” debate of 2021 is finally over.
After the Trail Blazers’ 123-111 win over the Hornets on Monday night, Portland forward Carmelo Anthony ended the strange conversation about his status as the true “Melo” of the NBA, telling reporters that it’s perfectly fine for anyone to use the nickname when referring to Charlotte rookie LaMelo Ball. Anthony and Ball showed their respect for each other with a jersey exchange on the floor after the game.
Anthony added that Ball is free to use his signature 3-point celebration. After making a shot from beyond the arc, Anthony typically taps the side of his head three times with three fingers. Ball does a similar celebration, though Anthony noted that he only does one tap.
“I think LaMelo is somebody who is gonna be in this game for a long time,” Anthony said. “So the name ‘Melo,’ you guys might as well continue getting used to that or stay with it. I don’t get into that, though. For me, it’s a respect thing. It’s an honor for him to have that name, for him to embrace it, for him to do the celebration. It’s an honor. It’s a blessing. It’s a respect thing for me. I embrace him.”
Carmelo Anthony clearing the air on the Melo controversy with LaMelo Ball:
“I vouched for it, he can do it”<-on LaMelo doing 3 to the dome celly
“It’s an honor for him to have that name for him to embrace it. It’s a blessing, it’s a respect thing for me”<-on LaMelo going by Melo pic.twitter.com/CgL1PK6UXO
— AJ McCord (@AJ_McCord) March 2, 2021
Ball may become the main “Melo” in the near future, but Anthony isn’t done just yet. The future Hall of Famer scored a team-high 29 points off the bench against the Hornets, shooting 10 of 19 from the field and 6 of 10 from 3-point range. Ball, meanwhile, had a game-high 30 points to go with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals.
LaMelo now first among rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, PER, BPM (top 40 in NBA), 3rd in 3PTM on 36.7%. Turns 20 this summer.
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) March 2, 2021
No wonder there is so much “Melo” admiration going around.