Carmelo Anthony had his jersey retired during halftime of Syracuse’s 57-46 loss to Georgetown on Saturday. Here’s what he had to say:
I can’t put into words how much this really means to me. It’s definitely one of the most memorable moments of my life, my career. This is where it all started for myself. 10 years ago, I never in a million years would’ve imagined being out here at halftime getting my jersey retired. When I was here, I remember Sherman [Douglas] getting his jersey retired. I didn’t know what was going through his mind, or how the felt, and for me to be on the flip side of that now is an incredible feeling, an unbelievable feeling. I’m forever indebted to the Syracuse community.
What was it like seeing your teammates from that 2002-03 championship team?
It felt really good. I haven’t seen them in years. The only person I’ve seen was Gerry and Hakim here and there. But to see Josh Pace back out there, Craig Forth and Matt [Gorman], even to see Andrew Kouwe… when we were here, we have so many conversations. So many good times. We really came together as a team, as a unit, and became close friends.
People say that you were only here for one year, what do you say to that?
A lot of people don’t understand, don’t get that. I was only here for one year, but I learned so much from being here that one year, I experienced so much being here that one year. I had so much fun when I was here. I saw the how community embraced me when I first got here throughout that year, at the end of the season, when we won the national championship.
You said on Jimmy Fallon that you were taking your son to the game. What was that like for him?
Just having him here, on the way he kept saying that it was his first college basketball team he had been to. This was one of the most memorable moments of his life. To see that the atmosphere here, this is something he won’t forget. I won’t let him forget it. Like I said on Jimmy Fallon, he will be going to college.
Will he attend Syracuse?
I hope so. If Boeheim is still here, he will be.
What has it been like playing for Coach Boeheim after Syracuse at the Olympics?
It’s been great. I never thought after I left I would be playing for coach Boeheim again, especially after he kicked me off the campus and told me never to come back. But to be back with him, to win two gold medals with him, to win a national championship with him, we will be forever connected.
What was it like being back?
It felt like it was yesterday. I felt like I was running back on the court to play a basketball game. To think about it, I blink once, I look twice, I look up at the rafters and my jersey is there retired right there next to that championship banner. Like I said, I will never forget that moment forever.
How much does it mean to you to have the Melo Center?
I can see the change, especially after building that building, how comfortable the basketball teams are to go into that building and practice whenever they want. To better their game. To better them as players, as people. I just feel like they have a home. I know we struggled to share practice time with the women’s team, the track team, so for us to have something to call our own, I know how much that meant to me.
Could you ever see your jersey being retired at Madison Square Garden?
I can’t really think that far ahead. Like I said, 10 years ago, I never thought I’d be here. Maybe when I’m done, another 15 years, maybe something will happen at the Garden. Like I said, this is a moment I’ll never forget. I will always cherish this moment and I will always be here in Syracuse.
You were only here for a year, but how did you understand the Syracuse/Georgetown rivalry?
When I was here, everyone knew about that rivalry between Syracuse and Georgetown just from going to class and hearing it from the fan’s prospective. And to come into the game and prepare for that game, and seeing the students outside lined up, everybody’s tailgating, sleeping outside, overnight trying to be the first ones in the Dome, I remember that. I went back and watched footage of the Syracuse games in the old TV room and the Georgetown games and how much that rivalry really meant to both Universities, to both teams. They say it’s the last game, but I hope we can keep it going. It’s going to be hard to see the schedule and not see Georgetown on it.
What does it mean to have your jersey retired during halftime of this game?
That’s what makes this moment so special to be able to do it for that last quote unquote Georgetown-Syracuse game. That’s what makes it so much more special. It’s already a special moment as it is, but to make it the last Syracuse-Georgetown game, that makes it that much more special.