Orange Watch: Carmelo Anthony has become Syracuse basketball’s NBA co-ironman

Carmelo Anthony
Nov. 6, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Former Syracuse Orange forward Carmelo Anthony cheers from the sidelines as the Orange lost to Virginia, 48-34. Mandatory Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Item: Currently in his 18th season and second with the Portland Trailblazers, the one season Orange phenom leading the 2002-03 national championship team and subsequent practice facility benefactor, has matched fellow former SU standout Danny Schayes (1982-1999) for the longest NBA career of any former Syracuse player.

From the time flies-by-department, both Anthony and the player selected two spots ahead of him in the 2003 NBA draft (remember Darko Milicic?), someone named LeBron James, are the only active players who have played 18 seasons. The NBA record is 22 seasons played set by Vince Carter in 2019-2020.

The chances that Anthony catches Carter by playing four more seasons seem slim. He’s currently (as of Feb. 15) averaging 13.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg playing in 25-of-26 Blazers games, starting once, but generally coming off the bench as the SF behind fifth-year veteran Derrick Jones Jr.

Portland is likely the fifth and final stop of Anthony’s stellar career. It started in Denver as the No. 3 overall pick in 2003 and ended eight years later when the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract extension resulting in the blockbuster 2011 trade with the New York Knicks eventually involving nine players.

Chapter two for ‘Melo in New York was a soap opera story into 2017 that included public spats with his first Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, and then general manager Phil Jackson before being unceremoniously dealt to Oklahoma City for a misguided 2017-18 season. Likewise, the following year saw Anthony fall into a bad landing spot for just 10 games with the Houston Rockets, before reinventing his current game in Portland.

The 6’11” Schayes, with Hall of Fame genes from his father Dolph, had a completely opposite college career than Anthony.

Schayes ascended from being a tall and lanky local high school star at Jamesville-Dewitt, to working his way up in three seasons under Jim Boeheim’s and Bernie Fine’s tutelage becoming Syracuse’s starting center in the Dome’s first year, and the No. 1 draft choice (13th overall) of the Utah Jazz in 1981.

Parlaying his height and smart experience, Schayes fine-tuned his athleticism into a long NBA tenure eventually with six other teams, averaging 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 1,138 games.

» Related: Syracuse tops Boston College to move to one game over .500 in ACC

A couple of weeks ago, our sports fact of-the-day calendar highlighted what occurred in the NBA on Jan. 24, 2014:

“Carmelo Anthony explodes for 62 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 125-96 hammering of the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden. Anthony goes 23-for-35 on field goal attempts, including 5-for-11 from three-point range, and is perfect on 10 free throw attempts. He also pulls down 13 rebounds, and one of his three-pointers is a heave from midcourt at the halftime buzzer. Coach Mike Woodson takes out Anthony with 7:24 to go.”

That game seven years ago capsulizes the future Hall-of-Fame bound Anthony’s now nearly two-decade career. A brilliant talent who could erupt in any given game, showcasing in his prime who was the best player on the court.

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About Brad Bierman 742 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.