Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony reiterated the embarrassment he felt while attending his son Kiyan's AAU games after getting waived by the Chicago Bulls following a trade from the Houston Rockets in January 2019.
"I was embarrassed," Anthony told ESPN's Royce Young on Friday. "I didn't even want to go to my son's tournaments. I was that embarrassed. Because it's like, you are who you are. You've been in this game 16 years playing at a high level and that's just taken away from you. Nobody remembers that. It was an ego hit. I used to tell my son and wife, 'Y'all go to this tournament, I don't think I can handle it.' I was broken at that point."
The 10-time NBA All-Star made similar comments about the situation last March.
"One part of me was really embarrassed—I was embarrassed," Anthony said at the time. "You know, kids are really honest. I didn't want to deal with those questions. 'What happened, Melo?'"
Entering the 2017-18 season, Anthony had spent 15 years, eight with the Denver Nuggets and seven with the New York Knicks, as one of the NBA's biggest stars. The Brooklyn native won a scoring title during the 2012-13 season with the Knicks and was named to one of the All-NBA teams on six occasions.
His career hit a lull after being by New York in September 2017. The 6'7" forward struggled to acclimate to a role without consistent offensive touches as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder and then the Rockets, with whom he signed as a free agent in August 2018 after being traded to the Atlanta Hawks and being waived before ever playing a game for them.
He played just 10 games with Houston before being sidelined while the team explored trade options and was soon waived by Chicago without having played a game for the franchise.
Anthony ended up with an extended stint on the free-agent market. He didn't play for the remainder of the 2018-19 season and wasn't on a roster for the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign before finally reached an agreement with the Blazers in November 2019.
Fittingly, Carmelo told Fox Sports' Ric Bucher shortly after joining Portland it was his son and his AAU teammates who convinced him to keep playing.
"My son and [the kids in] my AAU program," Anthony said. "They're raw, they're honest and they're going to keep you on point. If I didn't have it no more, they would tell me."
Now, at age 36, the former Syracuse standout has found a niche with the Blazers as a secondary scoring weapon behind the star guard tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. He's averaging 13.7 points in a career-low 24.6 minutes per game.
Anthony and Co. have a critical game Friday night when they face off with the reigning champion but banged-up Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams are in the race for the sixth seed and the guaranteed playoff berth that comes with it in the Western Conference.