On Wednesday, at L.A.’s Dolby Theater, stars of sport and entertainment came together for the 2023 ESPYS. The event, which celebrated the past year of sports, included a special recognition of former New York Knick, Carmelo Anthony. The legendary bucket-getter officially retired in May, after spending 19 years in the league and seven seasons in New York.
Hailing from Brooklyn, Anthony’s homecoming to New York created a stir when he was traded from Denver in February 2011. During his time with the team, the multi-All-Star averaged 24.7 points and won the 2013 scoring title. Despite falling short of playoff success, Melo remains one of the most beloved Knickerbockers.
To help honor Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade took the stage. It was quite a lovefest.
“When it comes to the great Carmelo Anthony, the word that comes to mind is unstoppable,” said James. “Inside, outside, pullups, putbacks, layups, threes, dunks—if you ever saw Melo play the game of basketball . . . you felt like there was no one in the world that could stop him.”
Paul added, “With Melo, it’s never been just about the game. It’s about a how kid born in the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn, and raised in the city of Baltimore, was going to find his purpose, understand his impact, and help lead the charge for systemic change in our community. . . . You continue to lead with our Social Change Fund to create a more equitable society.”
You can watch the presentation here:
Other awards included:
- LeBron James was recognized with Best Record-Breaking Performance for breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record.
- Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin presented the Pat Tillman Award for Service to the Bills’ training staff.
- The entire U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team was given the Arthur Ashe Award of Courage.
- The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance went to Chicago White Sox pitcher Liam Hendriks, who overcame non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
- The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award went to Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and his wife, Lauren, for their efforts in underserved communities. The Holidays created the aforementioned Social Impact Fund to support Black-owned businesses and communities
- The award for Best Comeback went to Jamal Murray, who missed two seasons with an ACL injury, then returned to win the championship with the Denver Nuggets.
And even MSG’s own, and rising ESPN star, Monica McNutt was on hand.
The always charismatic Melo was the star of the night, though. In accepting his recognition, he acknowledged his great career and NBA brotherhood, and said that looks forward to “the next phase of my life.”
Dwyane Wade said that Melo became one of his favorite players after watching him in the NCAA tournament with Syracuse. He became friends with Melo soon after, a friendship that continues after 20 years. At Wednesday’s event, he advised him to, “Stay connected, stay vigilant, but most importantly, stay Melo.”
No doubt, he will. Congratulations, champ.