Carmelo Anthony had a big night Monday and his whole family got to share in the experience, one way or another.
The 17-year NBA veteran hadn’t appeared in a game in over a year when the Portland Trail Blazers signed him earlier this month. He has played in four games with his new team and had his best performance so far against the Chicago Bulls at United Center.
Anthony had a team-high 25 points and eight rebounds, both individual season highs for Portland as well, to lead the Trail Blazers to a 117-94 victory, their first since he joined the team.
He also made some history, passing Alex English to climb to No. 18 on the league’s list of all-time leading scorers. Anthony was only 62 points behind English when he was deactivated by the Houston Rockets on Nov. 8, 2018. He was eventually traded to — but never actually played for — the Bulls, then was waived and remained unsigned until several weeks into the 2019-20 season.
His wife, actress La La Anthony, was in the stands for her husband’s big game Monday in Chicago. He credited her with keeping him from calling it quits on his NBA career during his long layoff.
“Mentally, she kept me going,” Anthony said. “Emotionally, she kept me going. She was nudging me, ‘Don’t do it, don’t think about it, don’t do it, don’t you let that thought creep into your head.’ So she was a major, major part of why I’m here today.”
Anthony nailed a three-pointer at the 9:31 mark in the fourth quarter to bring his points total to 25,615, two better than English. During the next timeout, La La Anthony called their 12-year-old son, Kiyan, via FaceTime. She held her phone up so her husband and son could see each other.
When Anthony looked up from the bench and saw Kiyan’s face, he gave the boy a salute.
Watching dad make history ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6e77mnoQNH— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 26, 2019
“My son always wants to feel like he’s here,” La La Anthony told ESPN. “He misses his dad a lot. I was filming up the block, so I came here and just wanted my son to feel like he was a part of the moment. I FaceTimed him so he could see his dad, and he just was excited because his dad had such a great game tonight.”
She added: “Who wouldn’t want to see this? It’s amazing and exactly how it should be.”