Will the real Melo please stand up? And the real KD while we’re at it

Carmelo Anthony, top left, LaMelo Ball, top right, and Kevin Durant
Carmelo Anthony, top left, LaMelo Ball, top right, and Kevin Durant all have nickname conflicts.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press; Matt Slocum / Associated Press; Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

Carmelo Anthony has been known as “Melo” since the future Hall of Famer was selected as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. That class is one of legend as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were also welcomed to the big leagues that day.

Now, there might be a new “Melo” in town and Anthony, who is in his second season with the Portland Trail Blazers, is all for it as he and Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball swapped jerseys after their game Monday.

“I’m me. There’s nothing that nobody can do, nobody can say,” Anthony told reporters in the postgame news conference. “I think LaMelo is somebody who’s going to be in this game for a long time, so the name ‘Melo,’ you guys might as well continue getting used to that or stay with it. I don’t get into that, though. For me, it’s a respect thing. It’s an honor for him to have that name, for him to embrace it, for him to do the [similar three-point] celebration, it’s an honor. It’s a blessing.”

Ball has become a celebrity in his own right. The 19-year-old built his resume around the world before being selected as the third overall pick by the Hornets in last year’s draft. He became the youngest player ever to record a triple-double when he did so in January against the Atlanta Hawks. He’s the youngest brother of a family headed by entrepreneur LaVar Ball, who had a reality show and his own Big Baller Brand sneaker company as he propelled his sons to the NBA. Lonzo Ball, the eldest, was drafted as the second overall pick by the Lakers in 2017 before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in a move that brought Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. Middle brother LiAngelo is currently a free agent after spending time in the G-League and signing a short contract with the Detroit Pistons.


Elsewhere in the NBA, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant got in a light scuffle over his “KD” nickname when rapper Kash Doll posted on Twitter about how desirable she is to men, referencing a lyric from Moneybagg Yo’s “Said Sum” remix and replacing City Girls rapper JT’s name with her own initials, KD. The 11-time All-Star chimed in, saying that, “You did not have to use those initials to get this tweet off...U have to relax with the KD talk, your name is KASHDOLL.” The two went back and forth with the “Ice Me Out” rapper promising her followers that “We argue all the time” while maintaining her assertion that she’s the real KD.

The debate caught the attention of many, even 50 Cent posted about it on his Instagram. One fan pointed out that Kash Doll has been using the moniker for a while, opening her 2019 “Stacked” album with a song called “KD Diary.”

Unlike the “Melo” case, this one has yet to reach a verdict.