Postgame jersey swaps have become very popular in the NBA world over that past couple of seasons.
The ritual actual dates back to 1931 in the soccer wold.
But, fast forward to 2020 and more often than not there is an exchange of uniforms at midcourt at any given NBA game.
Earlier this season, Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard made a comment about how he always checks with Portland’s Equipment Manager Eric Hallman to verify that there are extra uniforms on hand before he does a jersey swap with another player.
After Tuesday night's game vs. the Boston Celtics, the Trail Blazers will now need to make sure there are additional red Carmelo Anthony uniforms.
Despite a dominating performance vs. Portland, Boston’s rising star Jayson Tatum had one thing on his mind postgame.
“He asked me for my jersey, so I gave it to him,” Melo said with a smile. “He’s like a little brother to me.”
The 21-year-old Tatum led the Celtics to a 118-106 victory over the Blazers, finishing with 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting, including an efficient 8-of-12 from behind the arc.
Tatum left Moda Center with a big smile on his face knowing he’s going home with a jersey from one of his all-time favorite players.
“Oh man, Melo is, besides Kobe, probably one of my top 3 favorite players. I studied him so much growing up and I’m one of his biggest fans. I got to spend some time with him this summer with Jordan Brand. I really looked up to him,” Tatum said postgame.
In just his third season, Tatum has made leaps and bounds. He’s averaging 22.9 points, 7.0 rebound, and 2.9 assists. Before Tuesday’s game, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned how we are all watching Tatum grow up before our eyes.
Melo has been able to see first-hand how his 'little brother' is growing up. The two spent a lot of time together this past summer. And from the sounds of it, Anthony is a big fan of Tatum as well.
“I love him,” Melo said. “He’s a guy that’s establishing himself, as we’re all witnessing, all watching. I mean, I love his game, I love watching him play. I was able to have some one-on-one time with him, get a chance to know him better as a person first, but his game speaks for itself and it’ll continue to blossom.”
With Tatum talking about how much he has looked up to the 35-year-old, those comments go a long way for Melo.
“It makes me kind of appreciate what I do, what I’ve been able to do throughout my career. Just being able to go out there and play the game the way that I’ve played it, the right way, the way that I continue to play it. For guys to acknowledge that and see that and watch that and want to learn from that, for me, that’s what it’s all about - when you can pass that knowledge down to the younger generation,” Anthony said.
Despite Melo not giving up any of his specific advice that he has shared with Tatum, he did explain how he enjoys guiding young players in the league.
“I like to lead by example...Communicate with guys, just talking, kind of seeing what they think, because a lot of times I’ve never been in some of those guys’ positions before. I try to put myself in their shoes, but also give them advice on how they can maneuver, how they can do it. I never tell anybody what to do. I just give them my experiences and I can only explain the things that I’ve been through.”
As Melo continues to experience more and more with the Blazers this season, the next step will be grinding out the rest of the schedule to help guide Portland to the Playoffs for the seventh straight season.
Anthony's mentoring skills will need to come into play now more than ever for the Trail Blazers.