For months, NBA Twitter has debated whether Carmelo Anthony or LaMelo Ball are allowed to don the nickname “Melo.” Recently, the rookie showcased Anthony’s iconic 3 to the dome celebration sending fans in a tizzy whether Ball should be able to take on the 18-year veteran’s epic 3-point gesture.
Finally, they got their answer.
Following the Portland Trail Blazers 123-111 over the Charlotte Hornets, Anthony was asked what he thought of the “Melo” debate, and it's settled, there isn't one.
“There’s nothing nobody can do, nobody can say, I think LaMelo is going to be somebody in this game for a long time,” Anthony said. “So, the name Melo you might as well continue getting used to that or stay with it. I don’t get into that though. For me, it’s a respect thing. It’s an honor for him to have that name, for him to embrace it, for him to do the celebration. It’s an honor, it’s a blessing, it’s a respect thing for me, so I embrace him.”
The future Hall of Famer went one step further to let the 19-year-old know that he has approved Ball using his trademark celebration.
Portland’s Melo scored a season-high 29 points on 52 percent shooting, 60 percent from three and added five steals on Monday night. For Charlotte, Ball dropped 30 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Hornets.
“His poise, his court savviness, his IQ of the game at such a young age, it’s hard to teach that, that’s a gift that he has,” Anthony said of Ball. “I also think that going and playing in Australia where he was at…having that one year, playing on the professional level, really prepared him for coming over here, being used to the physicality of the game, the pace of the game. Anytime you can have pro experience, that always helps. As you can see, he’s getting more comfortable with the game as games go on and...
It was a Melo vs. Melo showdown that lived up to the hype and ended with a swap of jerseys at midcourt, the ultimate sign of respect from a vet to the rookie. A passing the torch of sorts.
It turns out there’s enough room for two Melo’s in the NBA, but there’s only one Carmelo Anthony.
And he said it best on Monday night, “I’m me.”