NBA: After playoff clash, LeBron has this message for friend Melo

Published August 31, 2020, 7:41 PM

by Carlo Anolin

20 years and counting, James says it will ‘always be a privilege and honor’ to hoop with Anthony
LeBron James Carmelo Anthony
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers for Game five of the first round of the 2020 Playoffs as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on August 29, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. (David Dow / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

After the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the playoff picture, LeBron James looked back on his friendship with fellow veteran Carmelo Anthony.

The 35-year-old Lakers superstar took to social media his appreciation for Anthony, 36, after Los Angeles advanced to the second round 131-122 Sunday with a 4-1 series lead.

READ: NBA Roundup: Lakers, Bucks advance; Moment of silence for Boseman, Robinson, Olson; Kidd wants to coach Sixers

“Going on 20 years of friendship to date my brother and it will always be a privilege and honor to do what we love to do and that’s hoop!” James wrote Monday in a heartfelt Instagram post, accompanied by two photos of them sharing a light moment.

“Never taking these moments for granted cause I just don’t know how many more we got together out there but what I do know is we have the rest of our lives afterwards to continue to live it up to the fullest. Love CHAMP!!!” he added.

Their friendship and rivalry root from a deep and personal connection.

James and Anthony, making their 17th season in NBA, were considered rivals in high school before joining forces for Team USA and NBA’s All-Star teams.

It can be recalled that James of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and Anthony’s Oak Hill Academy locked horns in Trenton, New Jersey in February 2002, a jampacked high school match witnessed by 11,000 spectators per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Oak Hill took a 72-66 victory but the two put up a show as the kid from Akron dropped 36 points on 12-of-27 shooting to go with eight rebounds and five assists while Anthony chalked up 34 markers on 14-of-25 shooting and 11 boards.

The two high school standouts eventually landed in the biggest basketball league with James being the top pick of the 2003 Draft Class while Anthony came in third.

Several sports sites and magazines also featured the two NBA veterans from their rookie era in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets respectively.

Alongside Miami Heat great Dwyane Wade and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul, James and Anthony are part of the “Banana Boat” crew, which was first formed in 2015 after a vacation photo of them riding a banana boat surfaced online.

 “As I’ve said, it’s very humbling and it’s something we’ll talk about long after our careers. Not just the battles not only as opponents as you see tonight but also as teammates that you’ve seen in All-Star games and Olympic games,” James said in Game 3’s post-game interview.

Anthony, for his part, tweeted a photo of them with the caption: “2003 or 2020? #TBT #STAYME7O”

While he is set to become a free agent in the offseason, the 36-year-old Anthony has set sights to play for the Trail Blazers anew, citing that he has “found a home in Portland.”

Portland is the fifth team of Anthony in the NBA, having played for the Nuggets (2003-2011), the New York Knicks (2011-2017), the Thunder (2017-2018) and the Houston Rockets (2018-2019).