Carmelo Anthony on chasing his first ring with the Lakers: 'It's a must have'

Carmelo Anthony, the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers, joined the “Posted Up with Chris Haynes” podcast to discuss his time in Portland, the teams that showed interest in him during free agency, the advice he gave Damian Lillard before the star recommitted to running it back, and the story behind publishing his first memoir, “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised” that is available now.

“I really wanted readers to kind of step into my living room, my family gatherings,” Anthony said on the podcast. “I’m letting people into a different world of mine. We have a perspective from the outside of what it took — but now I’m giving it to you from my perspective. Stuff I’ve kept near and dear because it’s a sacred world ... I never wanted to put my community at jeopardy or have people looking at us crazy. So for me, I wanted to learn more, too. As I was writing and teaching, I was learning more about historical events in those times. The timeline from when I was born to when I shook [David] Stern’s hand.”

His journey now takes him to Los Angeles.

This summer, his good friend LeBron James reached out and told him it was time for them to partner up. Before that call, Anthony said his heart was set on returning to Portland.

“To be honest, I found myself sitting around and waiting on Portland ... I was just waiting to see if they were interested,” Anthony said. “... There were a lot of things happening that was just not clear. I made [Portland] almost like a home for me. Within two years, I felt like I was a part of that community.”

When asked if management ever contacted the future Hall of Famer, he replied, “No, not the way I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. And that’s the main message in my book: having perspective when losing things, losing people. ... The connection you lose a lot in sports because there’s no communication. There’s no loyalty. Not to say Portland did anything wrong, but I was sitting around because I’m a loyal person. I didn’t want to leave Dame and CJ [McCollum] and those guys. But I know the business.”

Lillard faced the most critical offseason of his career.

The disappointment of losing in the first round to a shorthanded Denver Nuggets squad left the star questioning his future with the franchise. Lillard longs to bring a championship to Portland, but he’s never played on a roster to realistically compete for one.

Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony stand on the court, both with their hands on their hips.
Carmelo Anthony said in his conversations with former teammate Damian Lillard, Lillard "never talked about leaving [Portland]. What he talked about is, ‘I want to win.’ ” (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

As a player who’s been in Lillard’s shoes, it was only right that Anthony lent his former teammate some advice that he preferred to keep between the two.

“You know our friendship. We talk all the time. It was never, ‘We’re getting out of here.’ It will always be Portland,” Anthony said of Lillard. “The next [star player in Portland] will have to do a lot. That’s his town, his organization, his city. And I’m coming to him as someone who’s been [in his situation] a couple of times in different places. He’s never talked about leaving. What he talked about is, ‘I want to win.’ ”

And though the Trail Blazers didn’t show much interest this time around, they were the lone franchise that gave Anthony a shot in November 2019 when it looked as if he was exiled out of the league. And for two seasons with the club, the 10-time All-Star took advantage and revitalized his career to the point where he had multiple suitors in free agency.

“New York was always there, always a story,” Anthony said. “I told my son when he made it to high school, I’d be there. Philly, I didn’t get a chance to converse with Philly, but there was interest. New Orleans had interest. It felt good to see that again and being a part of teams being interested in me when 18-20 months again, it was nobody.”

Anthony has accomplished just about all there is to accomplish in his profession. He’s a collegiate national champion, won a scoring title and is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. There’s one obvious significant accolade missing.

“The only thing I don’t have is a championship,” Anthony told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve won at every level. [If I signed somewhere else], I had to really come to grips and say, ‘If I walk away [from the game without a title], I’m cool.’ Now that I'm with the Lakers, it's a must have. There's no question about it. We gotta get it. It’s go time now. I gotta think about it every second of the day.”

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