Carmelo Anthony, the NBA All-Star forward from a housing project in Brooklyn who went on to win an NCAA championship in his lone year in college before establishing himself as one of the 10 best shooters in basketball history, called time on his career earlier this month.

The 38-year-old, who remained unsigned this season, has retired as the NBA’s ninth all-time leading scorer. He finishes behind LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal on that list with 28,289 career points.

It’s fair to say that Anthony has left his mark on basketball, ending his playing days after being named in the NBA’s 75th anniversary team and as a 10-time All-Star, one-time scoring champion (2013) and two-time recipient of the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award (2006, 2016).

Melo’s also no stranger to winning, himself, leading Syracuse to the NCAA 2003 national championship and helped USA Basketball on a global scale, featuring on teams that’ve won gold at Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016).

Off the court, Melo was married to TV personality and actress Alani ‘La La’ Vazquez, with who he has a son, Kiyan – a high rated teen destined to reach the NBA one day.

Melo’s also known for his charity work and business ventures, with his net worth said to be around $160million.

He’s several lucrative contracts with Nike, 1800Tequila and viin7esate (wine), earning $3.5M per year for six years when he signed his first shoe deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand in 2003.

Here, takes a look at one of the modern-day NBA’s all-time greats.

Melo’s humble beginnings

Born into a housing project in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to an African-American mother and a Puerto Rican father in 1984, Melo moved to Baltimore when he was eight, six years after his dad died of cancer.

In 2001, after starting to get noticed for his basketball talent as an upperclassmen in high school, Melo was distracted by all of the attention from the media to the point where he’d get suspended several times at Towson Catholic.

Many college scouts felt that Anthony wasn’t destined for the NBA due to his skinny frame, lack of strength and poor academic performance. After unusually announcing that he’d attend Syracuse University before the start of senior year, Melo transferred to basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in a bid too boost his grades.

Oak Hill Academy started the 2001-02 campaign boasting a 42-game winning streak and Melo matched up with LeBron James of St Vincent-St Mary. High School (Ohio) in the final of the Nike Academy National Invitational. James scored 36 points, while Anthony scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Oak Hill to a 72-66 win.

A year later and Melo ended up as a NCAA basketball champion in his season in college in 2003. His 33-point outburst against the University of Texas in the Final Four set an NCAA tournament record for most points by a freshman.

Melo’s net worth

Melo came into the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick of the 2023 draft and was among a star-studded class including LeBron James at No. 1, Chris Bosh at No. 4, and Dwyane Wade – who’ll be enshrined in the Hall of Fame this summer – at No. 5.

He never made it to the NBA Finals, going as far as to the Western Conference Finals with the Denver Nuggets, where they lost to the eventual NBA Champions that year – the Los Angeles Lakers – in 2009.

Anthony joined the New York Knicks, in 2011 carrying the team to the playoffs three times (2011, ’12, 13) but after multiple conflicts with then-team president and former NBA coach Phil Jackson, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.

He then played for the Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers and last played in the NBA during the 2021-22 season with close friend LeBron James on the LA Lakers.

Melo announced his retirement in May 2023, believing to have a net worth of $160M and earning over $262M over the course of 19 NBA seasons. He is also an Arsenal fan and founded a NASL expansion club, Puerto Rico FC, in his father’s homeland in 2015.

Melo’s noticeable charity work

Despite boosting an impressive nine-figure net worth, Melo’s also known for his charity work, having won the NBA’s Social Justice Champion Award in 2021.

During his time in Denver, Melo held a Christmas party for less well-off children and also hosted a 3-on-3 tournament known as Melo’s H.O.O.D. He opened up a youth development center named in Baltimore in 2006 and also donated $1.5M to the Living Classrooms Foundation for the education of over 35k kids.

Anthony further donated $35k to relief efforts after a tsunami caused an earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and $1k per point scored in back-to-back games for Denver against the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets in January, 2005.

In 2006, Anthony presented a $3M donation for the construction of a newly planned basketball practice facility named after him at Syracuse – his alma matter. It was later revealed he gave $4.28M in charitable contribution.

Most recently, Melo spoke at the Time 100 Summit, celebratung the magazine’s centennial year, in April 2023.

Melo’s life off-court

Outside of basketball, a good chunk of Melo’s personal life was filmed on camera due to his previous marriage to TV personality and actress Alani ‘La La’ Vazquez.

In 2004, the former couple were engaged and tied the knot six years later in 2010 before more than 300 guests at Cipriani’s in New York. The couple’s only child (and son), Kiyan Carmelo Anthony, was born on March 7, 2007 – 10 prior to La La filing for divorce in 2021.

The 16-year-old plays shooting guard for Christ The King in Queens, NY, but is set to transfer to nationally-ranked Long Island Lutheran at the end of the year and is said to have already gained interest from top US universities and colleges for basketball.

Anthony also famously holds close ties with LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade. The quartet are referred to as the ‘banana boat crew’ and have been friends since their teenage years. Their sons also play each other at basketball, noticeably when Kiyan’s school lost to Bronny James’ Sierra Canyon in December 2022.

Anthony was once rescued by James during an excursion to the Bahamas, where he had been carried away from a boat by the current. During an Instagram Live session, Melo later recalled, ‘he saved my life,’ when speaking about the danger he was in prior to being rescued.

Melo’s path to the Naismith Hall of Fame

Melo won’t have to wait long beyond Dwyane Wade’s enshrinement ceremony this summer to be a part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, following a career of 22.5 points in 19 NBA seasons.

Anthony, who often reminisced about playing home games for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, made five game-winning shots in the last five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime during the 2005-06 season.

He also shares the league record for second most points scored in one quarter (33) and holds the Knicks’ single-game franchise scoring record (62) among a plethora of other league wide scoring accomplishments.

Anthony’s played in the Olympics for the US national team a record four times, winning a bronze medal with the 2004 squad and gold medals on the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams.

As of April 2016, he was the US Olympic team’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, and games played. Melo currently ranks ninth among NBA scoring leaders.

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Kay Adams