The Melo effect

Published May 24, 2023, 4:30 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez
Jon Carlos Rodriguez

Without question, Carmelo Anthony won the hearts of many with his smooth demeanor, on and off the court.

Carmelo Anthony had no farewell tour, no final ovation, no last dance. This article, published a day after he announced his retirement, wasn’t pre-written nor embargoed for future release.

It’s not because Melo, a 10-time All-Star, didn’t deserve any of that. It’s because Melo, a future Hall of Famer, felt like he would stay forever.

His announced retirement—done via his own Instagram account—was pre-planned, sitting on Melo’s files for who knows how long. The announcement video wasn’t just an announcement video - it was a highly-produced mini-documentary on his career, from his days as a kid just wanting to hoop to the years as a pro influencing the culture. 

Towards the end, it shifts. It wasn’t just an announcement nor a highlight mixtape of his many dunks and many clutch shots, it was a love letter to his 16-year-old son, Kiyan. As the Anthony name retires from the NBA, another is on the way. What a way to go.  

Carmelo Anthony is just cool like that. He’s always been cool like that. 

Whether it’s just sitting on the sidelines, catching a wayward pass, and pretending to pull up for a jumper or being smart enough to skip a cheesy photo with the “banana boat” crew, Melo is just on another level of being effortlessly, infinitely cool.

It started from his days in Syracuse, where Melo was nothing short of a rockstar. In bright orange, a headband, and braids, he redefined what it meant to be a “one-and-done.” ‘Cuse Melo averaged 22 and 10, won the national championship, and got his number retired–all in his freshman year.

It spilled over to his rookie year in Denver, where he stormed into the league with disruption in mind. While the top pick of their draft class and eventual Rookie of the Year winner LeBron James was pre-ordained to be the most dominant rookie ever, Melo was the smoothest. 

His jab step-jab step-jumper combo was unstoppable. His relentlessness to get buckets was undeniable. Melo was unforgettable.

In all the games he played, he made sure he influenced the score, the result, and the people watching. That’s the Melo effect. He’d always be shooting, never passing up an opportunity to make an impact on his teammates and the community. 

Melo is stepping away from playing the game after 19 seasons without winning a championship, but that minor, inconsequential detail will be glossed over by the fact that in those 19 seasons, Melo was the guy you wanted to watch. He’s the guy who kids ran to the court to for a hug.

His story is more than being the highest-scoring men’s player in the Olympics. It’s more than being a Top 75 NBA great. His story, in Melo’s own fitting words, “has always been more than basketball.”

A farewell tour wasn’t necessary. Melo, whether in a basketball jersey or not, is here to stay.