Since entering the NBA, Anthony has emerged as one of the most well-known and popular players in the league. He was named to the All-Rookie team, to the All-Star team six times and to the All-NBA team six times. Anthony led the Nuggets to two division titles and to the playoffs every year from 2004 to 2010. In 2009, he helped the Nuggets advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1985. As a member of the USA National Team, Anthony won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. On August 2, 2012, Carmelo Anthony broke the United States men's Olympic team's record for most points in a single game when he scored 37 points against Nigeria.
Early life and high school
Anthony was born in the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn, New York City. He was born to a Puerto Rican father and an African American mother. His father, after whom he is named, died of cancer when Anthony was two years old. When Anthony turned eight, his family moved to Baltimore, where he honed not only his athletic skills, but his survival skills. Kenny Minor, one of Anthony's childhood friends, said, "from drugs, to killings, to anything you can name that goes on in the roughest parts of town, we've seen and witnessed hands on. Those are the things that teach you toughness and keep you mentally focused on your goals." Sports would serve as an important diversion from the violence and drug dealing that were pervasive in the housing projects a few blocks from the homes of Anthony and his friends.
Anthony commuted to Towson Catholic High School for his first three years of high school. During the summer of 1999, Anthony grew five inches into the frame of a 6–5 swingman. He suddenly became one of the area’s top players and made a name for himself in the area, being named The Baltimore Sun's metro player of the year in 2001, as well as Baltimore Catholic League player of the year. During his sophomore year, he averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Towson Catholic surged to a record of 26–3 and finished third in the state tournament. Anthony enjoyed a successful high school basketball career as a junior, almost doubling his numbers in scoring and rebounds, averaging 23 points and 10.3 rebounds. Despite his successful year, Anthony was distracted from by all of the attention, and was suspended on several occasions for skipping classes. He barely registered a blip on the radars of pro scouts with his skinny frame and lack of strength; many scouts felt that he was not ready for the physical demands of the NBA. In the end, Towson Catholic fell short of the state title, although he was named Baltimore's County Player of the Year, All-Metropolitan Player of the Year and Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year.
After his junior year, Division I coaches were lined up to recruit Anthony to a school on the East Coast, which included University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Syracuse University. In contrast to contemporary prep-to-pro players like Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady or Amar'e Stoudemire, he decided to declare early and announce that he would attend Syracuse University before his senior year. As Anthony's grades dropped under a C average and his scores on the ACT were below acceptable standards, he knew that he needed to improve in the classroom to qualify academically for Syracuse. For his senior year, his mother considered transferring him to a different school. Anthony first thought of Virginia's Hargrave Military Academy but after talking to Steve Smith, the head coach at basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, he eventually transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia—winner of the USA Today 2000–01 high school championship—for his senior campaign. During the summer of 2001, Anthony led an AAU Baltimore Select team to the Final Four of the Adidas Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anthony attracted attention from the NBA by averaging 25.2 points a game in the tournament, which was also attended by Amar'e Stoudemire (who was already being touted as a future lottery pick). Anthony played at the USA Basketball Youth Development Festival where he helped the East Team win the silver medal. He tied LeBron James for the tournament scoring lead at 24 points per game and shot 66 percent from the field. It was there that Anthony and James struck up a friendship.
Oak Hill Academy entered the 2001–02 campaign boasting a 42-game winning streak. The team’s first tournament win came in The Les Schwab Invitational against Mater Dei High School from Santa Ana, California, with Anthony winning the tournament MVP. Oak Hill won two more big-time tournaments, including the Nike Academy National Invitational where they knocked off then-No. 1 Westchester High School 77–61 in the final, and an anticipated game against St. Vincent - St. Mary High School of Akron, Ohio, where he was matched up with high school phenom LeBron James. James scored 36 points, while Anthony scored 34 points and 11 rebounds to lead Oak Hill to a 72–66 win. The team ended the season ranked third in the country at 32–1, with their only loss coming in a rematch against Mater Dei, which ended their unbeaten streak at 67. He averaged 21.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists during his senior year at Oak Hill and named a USA Today All-USA First Team and a Parade First-Team All-American. He was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic, scoring a game-high 27 points, and the 2002 McDonald's All-American Game, where he played on the same team with two future New York Knicks teammates, Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire. In that game, he scored 19 points and won the Sprite Slam Jam dunk contest. His performances at the high school All-Star games, helped lift his reputation with HoopScoop ranking him as the nation's No. 1 high school senior in the class of 2002, ranked 2nd by College Basketball News and 3rd by All-Star Sports. Due to his struggles with the ACT, his family and friends wondered whether Anthony would forget about his college plans to attend Syracuse and move on to the NBA. He had yet to produce the minimum score of 18, however, in late April Anthony got a 19 and decided to stick with college and prepared for his freshman year at Syracuse. In April 2009, he was named to the ESPN RISE's all-decade team and was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald's All-Americans in January 2012.
Anthony played one season at Syracuse University, during the 2002–2003 season, where he averaged 22.2 points (16th in the NCAA, 4th in the Big East) and 10.0 rebounds (19th in the NCAA, 3rd in the Big East, 1st among NCAA Division I freshmen). He helped guide the Orangemen to their first ever NCAA tournament title in 2003. He led the team in scoring, rebounding, minutes played (36.4 minutes per game), field goals made and free throws made and attempted. Anthony's 33-point outburst against the University of Texas in the Final Four set an NCAA tournament record for most points by a freshman. In the championship game against the University of Kansas, Anthony had 20 points and 10 rebounds. For his efforts during the NCAA tournament, Anthony earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player Award. Afterwards, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim described Anthony as "[...] by far, the best player in college basketball. It wasn't even close. Nobody was even close to him last year in college basketball. That's the bottom line".
Anthony said that he originally planned to stay at Syracuse for two to three seasons, but having already accomplished everything he set out to do, he chose to abandon his collegiate career (with Boeheim's blessing) and declared himself eligible for the 2003 NBA Draft. Some of Anthony's highlights in his time with Syracuse include being named Second-Team All-American by the Associated Press as a freshman, leading his team to a 30–5 record, capturing the school's first ever NCAA title and being the consensus pick for NCAA Freshman of the Year. He was also named to the All-Big East First Team and was the consensus selection for the Big East Conference Freshman of the Year
Anthony's NBA career began on June 26, 2003, when he was chosen in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft draft by the Denver Nuggets. He was selected behind LeBron James (1st overall, Cleveland Cavaliers) and Darko Miličić (2nd overall, Detroit Pistons). He made his NBA regular season debut on October 29, 2003, in an 80–72 home win against the San Antonio Spurs. Anthony finished the night with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. In just his sixth career NBA game (November 7 versus the Los Angeles Clippers), Anthony scored 30 points, becoming the second youngest player in NBA history to score 30 points or more in a game (19 years, 151 days; Kobe Bryant was the youngest). It was the fewest number of games a Nuggets rookie took to score 30 points in a contest since the ABA-NBA merger. On February 9, 2004, against the Memphis Grizzlies, Anthony became the third-youngest player to reach the 1,000-point plateau in NBA history with a 20-point effort in an 86–83 win.
On February 13, 2004, Anthony participated in the Got Milk? Rookie Challenge at All-Star Weekend. On March 30, 2004, he scored 41 points against the Seattle SuperSonics to set a new Denver Nuggets franchise record for most points in a game by a rookie. He also became the second-youngest player (19 years, 305 days) to score at least 40 points in a game in NBA history. After winning the Rookie of the Month award for the Western Conference in the month of April, Anthony became the fourth player in NBA history to capture all six of the Rookie of the Month awards in a season. The others to do so were David Robinson, Tim Duncan and fellow rookie LeBron James.[ Anthony was also named NBA Player of the Week twice (March 10, 2004 – March 14, 2004 and April 6, 2004 – April 10, 2004) and was a unanimous NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. Anthony averaged 21.0 ppg during the season, which was more than any other rookie. Anthony was second in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting, finishing as the runner-up to the Cavaliers rookie standout, James.
Anthony was a major part in the turn around of the Denver Nuggets from league laughingstock to playoff contender. In the season before Anthony was drafted by the team, the Nuggets finished with a 17–65 record, which tied them for worst in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They finished the 2003–04 campaign with a 43–39 overall record, qualifying them as the eighth seed for the post-season. Anthony became the first NBA rookie to lead a playoff team in scoring since David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs during the 1989–90 season. In the 2004 NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets faced the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round. In Anthony's first career playoff game, he had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, in a 106–92 loss at Minnesota. The Timberwolves eliminated the Nuggets in five games.
In Anthony's second season, he averaged 20.8 points per game, ranking him 19th in the NBA. Anthony placed 16th in the NBA for points per 48 minutes. On December 4, 2004, versus the Miami Heat, Anthony became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach 2,000 career points. Only James and Bryant were younger when they reached that plateau. Anthony played again in the Got Milk? Rookie Challenge, this time suiting up for the sophomore squad. In front of his home fans of Denver (who were hosting the 2005 All-Star Game), Anthony scored a game-high 31 points to go along with 5 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals, en route to becoming the MVP of the game.
With Anthony's help, the Nuggets improved their season record by six games from the previous season, ending with a mark of 49–33. The Nuggets finished seventh place in the Western Conference (one spot higher than they finished the previous season). Denver faced the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round, winning the first game in San Antonio, 93–87. However, the Spurs won the next four games, eliminating the Nuggets from the playoffs.
On December 3, 2012, Anthony was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the period November 26 to December 2, 2012. For the said period, Anthony led the Knicks to a 3-1 mark, averaging a league-best 29.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. Anthony scored over 30 points in two contests. In New York's 106-99 home victory over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 2, Anthony scored a game-high 34 points, and added six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
On January 7, 2013, Anthony received his second Player of the Week citation for games played from December 31, 2012 to January 6, 2013. During that time, he led the team to a 2-1 record, tallying a league-best 36.0 ppg. The week was highlighted by a pair of 40-point games, first in a loss to Portland (45 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) on January 1, and then in a victory over Orlando (40 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists) on January 5.
On January 9, 2013, Anthony was suspended for one game without pay for confronting Kevin Garnett after a game on January 7.
On January 30, 2013, in a game against the Orlando Magic, Anthony set the Knicks' team-record with 30 straight 20-point games, breaking the old record set by Richie Guerin (29 games). Anthony later extended the record to 31 games after he scored 25 points in a 96–86 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks.
On March 29, 2013, Anthony recorded 32 points and 11 rebounds in a 111-102 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. His teammate J. R. Smith scored 37 points in the game. On March 31, 2013, Anthony scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win against the Boston Celtics as he recorded a rare double-double in consecutive games. With the victory, the Knicks won the season series against the Celtics (3-1) for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
On April 2, 2013, Anthony tied his career high by scoring 50 points in a 102-90 win over the Miami Heat. He followed the next night with 40 points in a 95-82 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and then 41 points against the Milwaukee Bucks two days later, becoming the first Knicks player since Bernard King to score 40+ points in three consecutive games. He also became only the third NBA player to score at least 40 points on at least 60% FG shooting in 3 consecutive games, joining King and Michael Jordan.
On April 7, 2013, Anthony scored 36 points and 12 rebounds, 9 offensive, as the Knicks tallied their 12th straight win in a 125-120 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the team's 50th win of the season, and it marked the first time they posted that many wins in 13 years. By scoring 36 points to Kevin Durant's 27 points, he overtook the latter in the scoring race, upping his season average to 28.44 to Durant's 28.35 ppg.
On April 8, 2013, Anthony and Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for the period April 1–7, 2013. Anthony led the Knicks to a 4-0 record as part of their 12-game winning streak, during which he averaged 41.8 ppg.
On April 9, 2013, Anthony kept up his torrid pace as he once again scored 36 points on 13-21 FG shooting (3-4 from 3-point distance) as he became the first Knick since King to post five consecutive games of at least 35 points in a 120-99 victory over the Washington Wizards. It was also the team's 51st win, and 13th straight win, and they clinched their first Atlantic Division title since the 1993-1994 season. No NBA player had scored at least 35 points in 5 straight games since Kobe Bryant in the 2006-2007 season.
In 2013, Anthony became the first Knicks player with the highest-selling jersey in the NBA, based on sales at the NBA Store and NBAstore.com, since the league started tracking jersey sales in 2001.
On April 11, 2013, the Knicks' 13-game winning streak ended with a loss to the Chicago Bulls, 118-111. Despite the loss, Anthony scored 36 points on top of a season-high 19 rebounds, and he set a franchise record with six straight games with at least 35 points.
On April 12, 2013, a day after their 13-game winning streak was ended, the Knicks bounced back with an easy 101-91 victory over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony again led the way with another double-double game of 31 points and 14 rebounds in just under 30 minutes as he sat out the entire fourth quarter for the second time in 3 games.
On April 15, 2013, Anthony won his 2nd straight Eastern Conference Player of the Week award for games played from April 8 to April 15, 2013, when he led the team to a 3-1 record. For the week, he averaged a conference-best 32.0 ppg and a seventh-best 11.5 rpg.
He became the 2013 NBA scoring champion with 28.7 ppg after second place scorer and three-time reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant decided to sit out his last regular season game against the Milwaukee Bucks, ending his season with an average of 28.1 ppg.
At the close of the regular season, Anthony was named as the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for April, with Stephen Curry earning the Western Conference award. Anthony broke LeBron James' stranglehold on the monthly award, after James had received such honors five times that season.
On May 3, 2013, Anthony scored 21 points to go with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in the Knicks' series-clinching 88-80 Game 6 victory against the Boston Celtics in their first-round playoff series. It was the Knicks' first playoff series win since 2000 (during the time of Patrick Ewing and Latrell Sprewell). Anthony averaged a team-high 29.2 ppg in the series. This was the second highest playoff series average of a Knick player against the Celtics, behind Ewing's 31.6 during their 1989-1990 first-round series. In the next round, the Knicks were defeated by the Indiana Pacers in six games.
On May 23, 2013, Anthony was named to the All-NBA Second Team, alongside Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, San Antonio's Tony Parker, the LA Clippers' Blake Griffin and Memphis' Marc Gasol. It was the second time in Anthony's career that he made the Second Team.