Carmelo Anthony doesn’t care for Michael Jordan, LeBron James G.O.A.T. debates

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t care for Michael Jordan, LeBron James G.O.A.T. debates

Carmelo Anthony has watched “The Last Dance” documentary, and he’ll even tell you Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.

But when it comes to G.O.A.T. debates between the Chicago Bulls legend and LeBron James, the Trail Blazers star is not having it.

"I don't like it,” Anthony told CBS Sports. “And I say that because whenever we do that, we fail to appreciate what we have in front of us. Any time these comparisons are made, whether it's anybody -- old school versus new school -- it's like, why can't we just appreciate everybody for what they bring to the game?"

Melo has grown to appreciate both players games over the years. He developed a relationship with Jordan when he became the first signature athlete to sign with Jordan Brand in 2003. He’s also played basketball with LeBron since high school and the Lakers star once saved Anthony’s life when he was drowning in the Bahamas.

All allegiances aside, Anthony doesn’t think you have to side with one or the other. 

You know, M.J. is the GOAT. He's the greatest ever. We all know that, and we all agree to that. Why can't we say that, but also give LeBron his flowers while he's here too?" Why can't we say, 'M.J. was very great, LeBron is very great, Kobe is very great.' We're not allowed to say those things today, because it's always this or that, and that's just our society -- you have to choose one.

Watching The Last Dance did enlighten Melo though. He also believes it gave viewers a glimpse into what kind of person MJ was rather than the names like M.J. the great, Basketball God and Black Jesus that followed him after his legendary years on the court.

“He was a mythical person, like a mythical creature,” Melo said. “Nobody understood who he was or what he was. I think seeing him kind of take the lid off the pot and having the chance to kind of just tell his story and people can hear his passion -- what he's into, what he's not, and how he operates on the day-to-day, his mentality. Most people loved it. Some people were very surprised. And then there were people who hated it, because a lot of times people hate the actual truth."

LeBron James’ contributions might not match up to the greatness of Jordan. We don’t know, the story of his basketball career is still being written. What we do know is that both Jordan and LeBron have transcended the sport as we know it and helped grow the game on a global scale. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard has it all including international superstar status

Damian Lillard has it all including international superstar status

Following Damian Lillard’s most recent accomplishment of becoming one of three cover athletes for NBA 2K21, Lillard’s superstar status was a big topic of conversation on the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast.   

The list of accolades have continued to pile up for Lillard over the years as a five-time NBA All-Star, a four-time All-NBA selection recipient, the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, while also leading the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in nearly two decades last season.

Now that Lillard added the NBA2k cover accomplishment, Channing Frye is ready to dub Lillard the king of point guards.   

Steph Curry didn’t play this year and as I always said I think Steph and Dame are 1-and-1. More people watch the Golden State Warriors obviously, but Dame has put up crazy numbers. Dame has done amazing things in the playoffs. He’s been one of the most consistent guys when it comes to his play in the NBA as a whole. And so now, people are like, ‘Oh damn, Dame is good! Dame is really good!’ And they’re like, ‘What other guard is comparable to Dame?’ There is none.  -- Channing Frye on the latest Talkin’ Blazers podcast

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

Frye continued, “There’s all-stars, superstars, and then there’s mega stars and worldwide stars – those guys are your Lebrons, your Kawhi [Leonards], even Luka [Doncic] -- those type of guys, and now [Lillard] is getting the recognition to where he’s done being an All-Star, now he’s on that superstar level and then now he’s turning into that international superstar.”  

Monday, Lillard posted a more artistic version of his 2k-cover photo. And honestly, this should be the real cover photo.

Right?  

This season, Lillard was averaging a career-high 28.9 points and 7.8 assists per game before play was suspended. He holds career averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds.

And now he holds international superstar status.

Listen to the full Talkin’ Blazers podcast here.

CJ McCollum gives NBA props on what life will look like in the bubble

CJ McCollum gives NBA props on what life will look like in the bubble

Life in quarantine has meant NBA players are seeing their families more than ever before.

And now, that’s about to be the complete opposite.

The Portland Trail Blazers will travel to Orlando, Florida this week ahead of training camp with the NBA season to resume on July 30.

There are several protocols in place once the 22 teams arrive in the bubble.

Depending on how far a team makes it in the postseason will depend on how long a team is in the bubble, of course. But, players’ families will be allowed to enter the bubble after the first round.

Players and staff are not allowed to leave the Walt Disney World campus, which will hold a maximum of 1,600 people, while there will be daily COVID-19 testing.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

The NBA is providing various activities for players during their downtime, such golf and fishing around the Disney campus; however, players are only allowed to play one-on-one ping pong in order to social distance. 

Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic finds the ping-pong protocol funny since social distancing rules obviously won’t apply on the court.

But, Nurk did have the utmost confidence in the league that this season would resume.

I feel from the day we shut down the league, I know we're going to come back, somehow I know. I will play because I know they're probably the best plan possible for us, you know, we have obviously the best doctors and all the people who work on this... But at the same time, it just kind of looks kind of weird to be able to play against people and be really close to each other -- probably closer than in real life and then you can't play ping pong in twos. I mean there’s something not right [with that]. At the same time, I can understand what they saying, why they saying it, and why they want to do the protocols they have, but I don't think that's realistic. – Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic

As for the non-basketball activities, McCollum doesn’t plan to participate in many of them, citing that he thinks it would be wise for players to keep to themselves as much as possible. He did give the league props, though, for thinking outside the box, but not outside the bubble.

“I mean, they've been very creative,” McCollum said. “I give them credit. They've been super creative with coming up with stuff -- we can use the boats for a little bit, we can golf from what I'm hearing. Maybe I'll take some lessons – movies, DJing. I'm honestly, I'm like, I like to stay in my room. I’m a homebody so besides my morning walks that I'll take without my dog, since we can't bring animals, I don’t know how much interactive fun I'll have just from a safety standpoint. I think it's best to kind of stick to yourself if I’m being honest. So stay in my room, FaceTime, talk to my family, read some books, play some video games, drink some McCollum Heritage 91 [wine], and keep it moving. I don’t really plan on mingling too much especially to start because false-negative could be the end."

No matter what players decide to do with their downtime, living in the bubble will definitely be interesting for everyone in the bubble and for those of us observing it from afar. 

Is CJ McCollum prepared to play some small forward? YEP!

Is CJ McCollum prepared to play some small forward? YEP!

With Trevor Ariza not making the trip to Orlando to resume the 2019-20 season, there have been several opinions and ideas thrown out as to how Portland is going to cover that gaping hole.  

The Trail Blazers could go real big with their starting lineup, but then there’s also the chance they could go with a real small lineup.

Big man Jusuf Nurkic, who believes he is near the best shape of his life, mentioned that coach Terry Stotts has discussed with him that he could earn some power forward minutes.   

But, Nurkic says he is ready to fill whatever role Coach Stotts decides for him.

“I think we just need to fill in role with what the coach supposed to give us and what he thinks is the best for us and for the team,” Nurk added. “That's his part of the job, but I went down as a center, so I'll be back at the center. If I'm going to play some minutes at the four – yeah, I think [after] talking to the coach, I will definitely play some four.”

The 7-footer understands that in the few days left before the Blazers travel to Orlando to enter the quarantine bubble, he has one job:

“It’s just a matter of what [Coach Stotts] thinks is the best for the team -- that’s his part of the job to figure out. My part is -- I'm going to be as healthy as I’ve probably ever been.”

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

Stotts has also thrown out the possibility of shooting guard CJ McCollum moving over to the three.

There’s already been a lot of chatter about Carmelo Anthony moving from the four to the three with Gary Trent Jr. and Nassir Little playing backup small forward as well.

But, what does CJ think?

“Melo probably will play some small forward, G-Trent can play some small forward, Nas can play some small forward. I’ll probably play some small forward,” McCollum said with a smile.   

McCollum is an undersized two guard at 6’3”, 190 pounds. That’s a lot to ask of him to go up against an even bigger wing player.

But, it doesn’t sound like he’ll play too many minutes if any at the three and, of course, it will depend on matchups.

The NBA has been moving towards a positionless game for years and this restart for the Blazers could be the most positionless team we've seen. McCollum made a good point though, there really aren’t too many LeBrons in the league.

We'll be alright. We have a bunch of professionals, guys who worked on their games and this gives other players an opportunity that they probably wouldn't have gotten had Trevor been going, so will be fine. There's only so many LeBrons out there. -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

Sure, McCollum defending wings isn’t ideal for Portland, but there is something else to consider:

McCollum and Damian Lillard will have a lot of help behind them with a healthy Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic.

“When you look at our roster we lost a really good defender in Trevor, but we gain two really good ones in Zach and Nurk,” McCollum said. “I know we had great rim protection with [Hassan] Whiteside and will continue to have elite protection with Nurk. He's a guy who can be active in pick and rolls, he can be at the level, Zach can be at the level, they can drop, they can switch, they can guard guards. And they rebound really well for their positions and they can rebound outside of their areas. So, I think those are the keys in defense. Get a stop and being able to get the rebound, I think we are in position to do all those things and have some serious interior presence.”

As the Trail Blazers embark on their trip to Orlando, with the NBA season ready to resume July 30th, Portland currently sits 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Blazers do have one of the toughest roads to the playoffs based on strength of schedule. Six of Portland's eight games will be against teams with a winning record.

McCollum believes of the eight regular-season games, the Blazers will only be able to lose two games or they won’t make it to the postseason. 

“Probably six, I’d guess,” McCollum said when thinking about the number of wins they’ll need to get past Memphis and New Orleans for that final playoff spot out West. “I mean, it's hard to say. You don't know how the other teams are going to do. So I think that also factors in but I believe we've gotta go 6-2, that’s my guess. Maybe 5-3, but it just depends on how many games they win.”

There’s no time for Portland to ease into the return to play, that’s for sure.

The Blazers tip-off the resumption of the season on July 31 against Memphis.

Trail Blazers projected starting 5 should scare opposing NBA teams

Trail Blazers projected starting 5 should scare opposing NBA teams

When the Portland Trail Blazers take the court in Orlando, Florida at the end of this month, Rip City along with the rest of the NBA will likely see a new starting lineup. One that has never played together on the same NBA court.

Now you’re probably thinking, what a bad idea to introduce a new starting five with the playoff picture still taking shape and only eight games to make the postseason. However, the Blazers will finally be near full strength once play resumes at the end of the month. Head coach Terry Stotts will have more moving parts and talent to work with.

In a Zoom presser last Friday, Damian Lillard met with local members of the media and discussed his projected starting lineup when play resumes:

Damian Lillard

CJ McCollum

Carmelo Anthony

Zach Collins

Jusuf Nurkic

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].

I like that lineup, don’t get me wrong. For me, their biggest questions is, is Zach going to defend the three-man? Is Zach going to defend LeBron [James]? Is Zach going to defend Kawhi [Leonard] or Paul George? I don’t know if Melo can do that and play starter minutes right now. You want Melo to be the scorer, but Melo as a defender right now, that’s a little tough. — Channing Frye

It has been 469 days since Jusuf Nurkic has taken the court after suffering that gruesome leg injury vs. the Brooklyn Nets back on March 25, 2019. It’s been 253 days since Zach Collins left the court with a shoulder injury against the Mavericks on October 27, 2019. Both Blazers big men are cleared for play.

Less than one month after Collins’ injury, the Blazers signed 17-year veteran Carmelo Anthony.

It will be the first time these three will take an NBA court together along with Lillard and McCollum.

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers seeding games: Key match-ups to watch

I love that Dame went with his ride-or-die guys. — Channing Frye

‘Ride-or-die’ is the perfect way to explain Portland’s situation. After the NBA Board of Governors were deliberating four possible scenarios to resume the NBA season after it was suspended in mid-March, Lillard shared his opinion on playing or rather not playing ‘meaningless games.’ The All-Star wanted something to play for or he wasn’t playing at all. Which is perfectly valid. 

Now, the Blazers have a shot at the playoffs, despite that road being rather tough.

[RELATED]: A healthy Zach Collins says 'We know we have a shot to win a title'

Will this brand new Blazers starting five give Portland that chance to break into the playoffs and make a splash in the postseason? We will soon find out on July 31 when the Blazers tip off against the Memphis Grizzlies for their first game in Orlando, Florida.

Trail Blazers pick favorite cell phone apps-- then things got weird

Trail Blazers pick favorite cell phone apps-- then things got weird

Where would we be if we didn't have our cell phones? And how would we function?

It's a computer, a web browser, a text machine, a video camera and still camera, a voice recorder, a video game console... oh yeah, and it's a telephone. 

The ways in which a person uses their cell phone, whether it be Apple, Android or Blackberry... is very personal.

Each person has apps they prioritize on their home screen, obsessively use and check throughout the day. But, what are the three apps that your Portland Trail Blazers can't live without?

Would you believe that NONE of them chose Facebook?!

It's true. 

Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter led the way, but there were some very-- well, interesting answers. 

Zach Collins was the ONLY player to choose phone. 

Carmelo Anthony is going classic with "Music" and "Email."

Rodney Hood can't be without his games, choosing Candy Crush and Word Crossy.

Moses Brown can't be without his videos-- YouTube, Netflix and FaceTime.

OF COURSE CJ McCollum would have a wine app!

But, it was Mario Hezonja and Caleb Swanigan that really caught our attention. 

Hezonja chose "Settings" as an app, of all things. Like, why is that one of the first three that come to your mind?! He chose camera and Candy Crush to round out his three, which ok, that's fine.

And things have gotten weirder with Hezonja. He wants to change one of his picks... but it's not "Settings."

Swanigan takes a very unusual approach-- Music, Notes, Email. 

Not calling his choices bland-- but, unimaginative? Bland? Already said that. 

Either way, it's nice to see what the Trail Blazers can't live without. 

What are your favorite phone apps? 

Why did CJ McCollum change his mind and decide to go to Orlando?

Why did CJ McCollum change his mind and decide to go to Orlando?

When the idea of the NBA return-to-play plan was first broached, CJ McCollum was pretty sure about what he wanted to do. And what he didn’t want to do.

And he didn’t want to go.

“At the time, I felt like I didn’t want to play,” said the Trail Blazer guard during a Monday morning Internet media conference.

This was very early in the process, when McCollum, a member of the NBA Players Association’s executive committee, was still sounding out his teammates on their desire to head to Orlando and its bubble.
“A lot went into it,” McCollum said. “Being on the executive committee, I’ve been on all the calls. Now, I have an understanding of what we can accomplish by going. I did consider not playing. I definitely considered it. If the majority of players would have decided not to play, then I would have decided not to play, as well.

“I love the game of basketball. I love to compete. I understand those things, but at the time, I felt like I didn't want to play. Based on what I was hearing, I didn't want to play.”

And when he polled his teammates, he wasn’t the only one not in favor of resuming play.

“I wanted to let everybody know what it means if you don’t play,” he said. “I think that was important. If you don’t play, this is what happens. That was the biggest thing I wanted to explain to everyone. I support you, regardless, but if you don’t play, this is the effect it has, not only on yourself, but the league. Here’s what it does financially, it’s how you will be held accountable if you don’t play.

“Whatever you guys want to do, I support you. I'm going to give you the facts and tell you how I feel personally and go from there. We basically voted on it.”

And the vote?

“It wasn’t unanimous,” he said. “For what it’s worth, I can tell you that I voted no. Personal preference. I love the game of basketball. I love to compete. I understand those things but at the time, I felt like I didn't want to play. Based on what I was hearing, I didn't want to play.

“This happened a long time ago. Obviously, now we have more information. Circumstances, situation, testing.

“Due to the circumstances of the situation and you look at the factors that are going into certain people’s decision making. For me, I don’t have any little kids in the house, my grandparents don’t live with me, so I think all those things played a factor in my decision-making process.

“I felt like from a standpoint of understanding what I can accomplish by playing in front of all those fans, especially to help the movement, I felt like it was in my better interests, personally, to play. But I understand the people who don’t want to play and I support them, because it’s a tough decision you have to make for yourself because of the circumstances.”

And by going, there is an opportunity to make things better.

“With what’s going on in the world right now I wanted to make sure everything is stable and if I am going to go, we have a plan in place where we can still impact and make a difference in our society, specifically the communities that we come from,” McCollum said. “And help benefit the next generation of young Black kids and kids of color.”

And so he’s going.

“I haven’t packed yet,” he said, “but I’m going.”

Carmelo Anthony delivers poignant message as SLAM guest editor: 'ENOUGH is ENOUGH' 

Carmelo Anthony delivers poignant message as SLAM guest editor: 'ENOUGH is ENOUGH' 

For years, Carmelo Anthony has served as one of the NBA's loudest voices. 

Now, the Trail Blazers forward is using his platform to speak out about racial inequality and systemic racism in America, and he won't go about it quietly.

Over the weekend, it was revealed that Melo is stepping into a new arena as guest editor of the latest edition of SLAM Magazine. The 10-time NBA All-Star is heading up an issue that focuses on social justice and activism as seen through the lens of basketball.

On the cover, Melo and his son Kiyan both wear black hoodies with the powerful words “It stops now,” written across the bottom. 

In his letter as editor-in-chief, Melo referenced police brutality victims and urged for equality for all in America. 

I CAN’T BREATHE! I STILL CAN’T BREATHE! MY ARMS ARE UP SIR! What did I do? Can you please tell me what I’ve done?” he wrote. “Will you ever take your knee off our necks? Is it because I’m Black? Does that scare you? Am I intimidating? What is it? WHAT IS IT?” 

You know what: ENOUGH is ENOUGH.

I want you to know that I don’t just speak for myself. I speak for all of us. We have to keep on pushing. We will continue to make progress. We are trying so damn hard. We can’t stop now.

Don’t lose focus. Don’t lose sight of why we are in this fight.

The new SLAM issue includes essays from sports legends like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Spencer Haywood, as well as a WNBA roundtable with Sheryl Swoopes, Angel McCoughtry and Lexie Brown.

100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to charities supporting issues impacting the Black community. Fans who want to get their hands on the Melo edition can preorder The Social Justice Issue here.

[RELATED: Trail Blazers look to continue to advance discussions on social injustice in Orlando]

[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Blazers TV analyst Lamar Hurd].

Portland Trail Blazers to play multiple scrimmages ahead of resumed season

Portland Trail Blazers to play multiple scrimmages ahead of resumed season

With the NBA set to resume at the end of the month in Orlando, Florida, one of the primary concerns will be the rust of many players who haven't played a competitive game since March.

To make the NBA's return have a high quality of play with little time for players to get into a rhythm, the NBA has announced that teams will participate in inter-squad scrimmages from July 22-28, ahead of the NBA's resumption on July 30.

The Blazers will play three scrimmages:

  • Thursday, July 23 vs Indiana at 12:30 p.m. PT
  • Sunday, July 26 vs Toronto at 3:00 p.m. PT
  • Tues, July 28 vs Oklahoma City at 3:00 p.m. PT 

The Pacers will be without star Victor Oladipo who decided to opt-out of the NBA's return in Orlando citing injury concerns. 

[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Blazers TV analyst Lamar Hurd].

Portland will resume the NBA season officially on July 31 vs the Memphis Grizzlies, who the Trail Blazers trail for the eighth seed by 3.5 games, at 1:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports NW. 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers return to play schedule in Orlando released

Teams are expected to arrive in Orlando from July 7-9 where a training camp will continue leading up to the season's restart. 

Trail Blazers look to continue to advance discussions on social injustice in Orlando

gettyimages-1211701482.jpg
Getty Images

Trail Blazers look to continue to advance discussions on social injustice in Orlando

The Trail Blazers know they have a unique opportunity when play resumes.

This week, both Blazers coach Terry Stotts and Portland’s leader Damian Lillard spoke about their plans to not allow the NBA’s resumption to take away from the current social injustice movements.

“I don’t know if we’ll necessarily do anything as a team or not,” Stotts said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know the circumstances down in Orlando and how things are going to go, but I think the most important thing, personally, and I’m sure the players feel the same way, is that the conversation continues. We’ve got a great platform in Orlando… There will be a lot of media attention, obviously. So, I think that my message to the players is keep the conversation going.”
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

 

Lillard, who attended a Black Live Matter march in Portland last month, believes the NBA has a real opportunity to use its platform to make statements and continue to support the black community when play resumes.   

Obviously there will be a lot of eyes on us in Orlando. So I do agree with the fact that it’s an opportunity for us to make statements with the amount of people that’s going to be watching -- whether that’s together, before games, during games, after games, TV commercials, whatever that might be, I do see some opportunities in that.  -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

Coach Stotts reiterated that it will be very important for the Trail Blazers and the NBA as a whole to continue the social injustice discussions.

I’ve spoken with all the players individually about it. I think the most important thing is that we keep the conversation going and I’ve been really proud of our guys and how they’ve supported the movement and how they’ve expressed themselves and how they approach social injustice, racial injustice.  -- Blazers coach Terry Stotts

The 22 NBA teams participating in the restart in Orlando will travel to Florida between July 7-9. Training camp will begin once all 22 teams are in the ‘quarantine-bubble.’ The first slate of games are set to tip-off on July 30.

Portland will face Memphis in its first game of the restart on July 31.