Lakers' LeBron James Says It's 'Always Special' to Play vs. Carmelo Anthony

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2019

PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 06: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks up the court during the first half of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on December 06, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

LeBron James said it's "always special" to play against Carmelo Anthony after his Los Angeles Lakers scored a 136-113 victory over Melo's Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

"We got so much history," James told reporters. "We've been competing for a long time. We've been on the same team with the Olympics, and then just our brotherhood. That's my brother, man. It's always great to be able to compete and just be on the same floor—period. No matter if it's, like I said, with Team USA, when we're teammates or just competing on our respective clubs."

He added: "It's always special. I can't even lie. It's always special to be on the floor with a brother of mine."

Although questions have been raised about why James, who yields incredible power within every organization he joins, hasn't convinced one of his teams to sign Anthony, there's never been any sign of public tension within their longtime friendship.

In November, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported LeBron gave Melo his "blessing" to join the Lakers during the offseason, but the team's front office opted to go in a different direction.

Anthony, who'd been a free agent since getting waived by the Chicago Bulls in February shortly after being acquired in a trade from the Houston Rockets, finally found a new home with the Blazers last month.

The 35-year-old former NBA scoring champion has averaged 16.7 points and 5.6 rebounds across nine appearances for Portland. He scored 15 points in Friday's loss to the Lakers.

"It was good," Anthony told reporters. "It's always fun going against him, playing against him in Year 17 for both of us. Being able to compete against one another at this level, and in now our 17th year, you can't ask for more than that."

James was the first overall selection in the 2003 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony went third to the Denver Nuggets. Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors) and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) also got picked inside the top five.

LeBron has played for three teams, including two stints with the Cavs, and Carmelo has taken the floor with five franchises, but their only chance to play together has come with Team USA. They helped the U.S. win gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games.

The Lakers and Blazers face off twice more during the regular season (Dec. 28 and Jan. 31), and it's possible the teams meet in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

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