Melo to celebrate MJ's 50th in Houston
February, 14, 2013
By Jared Zwerling | ESPNNewYork.com
Charley Gallay/Getty Images Carmelo Anthony and Michael Jordan, during All-Star weekend in Dallas in 2010.The most memorable event for Carmelo Anthony in Houston this weekend likely won't be suiting up for his sixth All-Star Game or watching Knicks teammates Steve Novak and James White compete on All-Star Saturday night.
It will be celebrating with Michael Jordan, who turns 50 on Sunday -- the same day as the All-Star Game.
Anthony doesn't have anything special planned for MJ -- "He has everything," Melo said, smiling -- but being in attendance at the private party, hosted by Jordan Brand, will be special.
"I think more than anything just being there with him, having fun with him, enjoying that birthday, that moment," he told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday. "Just to say that we were there as part of his brand, as some of his students, to be able to participate with him for his 50th birthday, is incredible."
Anthony -- whose status to play Sunday is unclear because of an arm contusion -- can't believe Jordan is turning 50.
"It doesn't even seem like that," he said. "I mean, he's so relevant still right now at the age of 50 in our world, in everybody's world. Little kids still know him. They might not have even seen Michael Jordan play a game before, but they know who he is. It's his relevance that keeps him out there."
Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesMichael Jordan visited Carmelo Anthony after a playoff-clinching victory by the Nuggets during Melo's rookie season.
During his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2009, Jordan said, "One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50." The Lakers' Antawn Jamison said earlier this week that Jordan could still average double-figure points in 15 to 20 minutes per game -- but Anthony isn't buying it.
"We know he ain't coming back," he said. "Right now? He's 50, man. Come on, give the man a break (laughs)."
When Anthony was drafted by Denver in 2003, Jordan was already a few months into his final retirement after playing two seasons with the Wizards. They have maintained a friendship since '03, when Jordan lobbied for Anthony to join Nike's Jordan Brand, and Melo has been signed-on ever since.
"This is my 10th year with them, so to be able to grow with the brand -- I've seen so many changes over the years -- and right now to be one of the faces of that brand, we feel like we're just getting started," said Anthony, who's currently wearing the Jordan Melo M9 shoe.
Anthony said one of his greatest off-the-court moments with Jordan came on April 12, 2004, when Denver was playing Sacramento -- the second-to-last game of the regular season. Melo was battling a migraine, and throughout the game he was holding his left eye and grabbing oxygen every time he was on the bench. But he still managed to score 17 points, leading his Nuggets to victory and a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Jordan, who was in attendance, checked on Anthony in the locker room after the game.
"That was a big moment because, at that point in time, he wasn't coming to no basketball games, so for him to come see me felt good," Anthony said. "He also came to the playoffs one game, so I got a chance to spend some time with him, and almost every offseason."
Anthony said he talks to Jordan regularly and "everything that he says is always important." But Melo said it's interesting to be involved with MJ because not only do they work together, they're both tied to the league.
"I talk to him, but it's kind of hard to talk to him by him being an owner [of the Charlotte Bobcats]," he said. "We have little conversations and things like that. But it's kind of a fine line because he's another competitor and still my boss at the same time."
Suffice to say, though, there will be a lot to discuss this weekend -- from Jordan's legacy to Anthony's MVP campaign.
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