Carmelo Anthony played college basketball at Syracuse for just one year but made an impact that will last forever.
At halftime of its bout against the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday, Syracuse honored Melo by retiring his jersey and hoisting it into the rafters in front of a sellout crowd of 35,012—the largest audience to see a college basketball game in an on-campus arena, according to BlackSportsOnline.com.
In 2003, as a freshman, Anthony led the Orange to their first national title against the Kansas Jayhawks. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2003 Final Four.
Much to the delight of the crowd, Melo raised a framed replica of his jersey into the air, smiling from ear to ear. The ovation he received was beyond loud.
As most continue to pick apart Anthony's game and impact at the NBA level, this honor serves as a reminder of all that he meant to Syracuse, all that he still means to this university and all that his talents can mean to a team.
Despite spending just one season at Syracuse, Melo has formed ties that simply cannot be severed. Not only is he just the 10th player in Orange history to have his jersey retired, but in 2009, he also donated $3 million to the school to help construct a training center for the men's and women's basketball teams.
How many "one-and-done" players can say that?
Criticism will continue to plague Anthony more than most until he is able to win a championship at the professional level like some of his star-studded peers from the 2003 draft.
A decade ago, though, Melo was a champion, laying claim to a feat the Syracuse faithful have ensured we will never forget.