"I was preparin' myself," Anthony told ESPN's Rachel Nichols, via Nick Friedell of ESPN. "And I had prepared myself to kinda just walk away from the game—if the right situation didn't come about."
The veteran was able to return to the league after the Portland Trail Blazers signed him in November. Two weeks later, Anthony was named the Western Conference Player of the Week after scoring 67 points across his last three games.
In his six games to date with the Blazers, the 35-year-old is averaging 17.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Despite a resume that includes 10 All-Star selections, Anthony remained out of basketball for an extended stretch.
He began last season with the Houston Rockets, but he appeared in only 10 games before the team decided to move on and stop activating him. The Rockets traded him to the Chicago Bulls before last year's deadline, but no team signed him after the Bulls waived him in February.
It took about a month into the 2019-20 season before Portland came calling.
As the veteran explained to Nichols, he almost reached a breaking point:
"I was ready to walk away, yeah. It was hard. But there came a point when I was like, 'You know what? I've given a lot to this game. I played 15, 16 years in this game. I'm ready to give it up, because I just knew that at that point in time from a basketball standpoint, that narrative that it—it was already out there. So I'd been fightin' an uphill battle anyway if I didn't go to the right situation."
Anthony now gets a chance to add to his legacy while potentially ending his career on his terms.