Carmelo Anthony recently announced his retirement from basketball. The immediate question on the minds of many New York Knicks fans was, “Should the Knicks retire Melo’s number 7 jersey?” Personally, if you asked me that question I would think it was rhetorical because the only acceptable answer is yes. Thanks for reading! Here is the link to return to the Daily Knicks home page.
But because you probably came here for a detailed answer, I will happily oblige. For a multitude of reasons, Carmelo Anthony is deserving of his number being retired by the Knicks. Let’s dive into the many accomplishments Anthony had across his seven years in New York.
What is Carmelo Anthony’s case to have his jersey retired by the Knicks?
Anthony is of course best known for his scoring ability. Not only did he score the seventh most points in Knicks history (10,186 total), but he now officially ends his career with the ninth most points in NBA history (28,289). During his seven seasons from 2011-2017, only five players in the entire league scored more points than Carmelo; those players in order from first to fifth are James Harden, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry.
Additionally, Anthony has the third highest points per game average in Knicks history (24.7 PPG), which trails only Bob McAdoo and Bernard King, respectively. And of course, Carmelo Anthony holds the record for the most points ever scored in a single game by a Knicks player with 62 points, which also broke the Madison Square Garden scoring record previously held by Kobe Bryant.
Aside from scoring, Anthony also averaged 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 44% from the field and 37% from three in 36 minutes. Anthony is among the best in several standard and advanced stats in franchise history:
These numbers accumulated over his prime not only made Anthony an all-time great Knick but one of the best players of his generation and of all time. He routinely joined his peers in the accolade department. His six All-Star appearances from 2011-2017 are tied with James and Durant for the most of any player during that span.
Anthony finished third in the 2013 MVP race behind those same two players, made the All-NBA Second Team in 2013, and the All-NBA Third Team in 2012. He was even named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
And finally, while Anthony didn’t win as much as he or Knicks fans would’ve liked him to in New York, he still led the franchise to success when surrounded by competent personnel. During Anthony’s first three full seasons with the Knicks, New York made the playoffs. New York won its lone playoff series of the decade in 2013 with Anthony: a first-round victory over the Boston Celtics. That 2012-13 season was also the first and only 50+ win season for the franchise since 2000.
When you get away from the numbers, awards, and team success and look at the rest of Anthony’s Knicks tenure, there is still a ton to admire. He was someone who wanted nothing more than to play for and represent his hometown team and the city of New York. Aside from Amar’e Stoudemire, Anthony was the only player of his time and of his caliber who was willing to come to New York and take on the challenge of trying to turn the team into a winner again after over a decade of misery.
In fact, New York still hasn’t landed a player since Anthony’s arrival in 2011 who has achieved All-Star status before coming to NYC while still in their prime. Sadly, many factors outside of Melo’s control led to more misery for much of the time that he was here. Nevertheless, his dedication to the Knicks is perhaps what best defines his career in the Big Apple.
Even when you consider the entire body of work that is Anthony’s career, it is undeniable that he should be granted such an honor because of how his resume stacks up to his peers. Anthony will more than likely make the Basketball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. How many Hall of Famers, let alone first-ballot recipients, do you know who don’t have their number retired by the team(s) that they spent the most and/or best years of their careers playing for?
Very few players in NBA history have displayed such talent while also manifesting it into a long and successful career. A true legend of the sport, Anthony’s No. 7 is more than deserving of (and I believe will be) hanging in the MSG rafters very soon.