11 years ago, Carmelo Anthony hoisted a national championship trophy above his head following a brilliant March performance for Syracuse. Five years later, Anthony was named an All-Star starter for the first time in his NBA career.
The common theme linking these two events is the city of New Orleans. The Big Easy is a special place for the league’s reigning scoring champ.
“That was kind of where everything started for me as far as winning a national championship in New Orleans, playing in one of my first All-Star games in New Orleans, and that connection will always be there with me in New Orleans, so for me to be back there once again that just holds that much more specialty in my eyes,” Anthony smiled.
In 2008, the Denver Nugget at the time registered 1,723,701 votes as the top forward in the Western Conference and second to Kobe Bryant. Anthony registered 18 points and seven boards for the West in New Orleans.
Fast-forward to Thursday night as the NBA announced the starters for the 2014 All-Star game, which returns to NOLA as the host city to highlight the league’s brightest stars. Once again, Anthony’s fans were heard loud and clear by voting the Knicks leading scorer a starter for the Eastern Conference squad.
“That’s the biggest thing I take from it,” Anthony reacted. “I will say thank you to all my fans once again. For them to be celebrating me and wanting to see me go out there and represent them, so Team Melo will always be on top of my list. I will always care about them. I try to do as much as I can for my fans, whether it’s giveaways on my web site, I try to be very interactive with my own fans, so this is the celebration they are giving me.”
Joining Anthony in the East is a lethal group of starters including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul George, and point guard Kyrie Irving. The reserves will be announced next week and the marquee game will take place on Sunday, February 16.
This year marks the seventh All-Star appearance for Anthony and his third time representing the New York Knicks. Last year, the prolific scorer dropped 26 points and 12 boards in just 30 minutes of game action.
“Just for me to go there, New Orleans and represent not just myself as an All-Star but the city of New York, the state of New York. It’s a big honor for me once again,” Anthony reiterated.
One of the perks of heading to New Orleans for three days of All-Star festivities is to take full advantage of its unique cuisine. Anthony is looking for recommendations, “I’m definitely going to search around and try to find some little hole in the wall spots, some hidden spots. I might look at ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,’ one of those shows to see what’s down there in New Orleans and just enjoy it and have some fun.”
No. 7 makes his 7th trip to the midseason showcase and the New York native is excited to return to the city that holds special memories in his storied career.