Syracuse news has significantly slowed over the past week or so, but something always comes up that has the Orange faithful happy, sad, mad, angry, or thankful. This week, it’s the last of those feelings as on Monday morning, Carmelo Anthony officially announced his retirement from basketball, which gives us at The Fizz the chance once again to detail just how much he still means to Central New York and Syracuse University.
Any game in the Dome you go to, football, basketball, lacrosse, you’re likely to see a handful of #15 jerseys, it’s possible it’s still the most worn jersey at definitely any basketball game, and maybe every sport played in the JMA Wireless Dome. The impact that Anthony has had on the university, from resources to history, and legacy is unparalleled, and without him, who knows what Syracuse basketball and Syracuse University might be.
His donation to create the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center has given Syracuse an elite practice facility, and a place where players can not only see the name recognition of the building but hone their crafts to become the best players they can. His NBA career will forever be marked by the fact that he didn’t win a championship, requested trades, jumped teams, and a bunch of other things, but that doesn’t matter. Anthony was one of the best players of the 21st century despite not winning the NBA Finals.
He brought the Nuggets to the conference finals for only the third time in franchise history. He brought the Knicks to the second round for the first time in 13 years. He won three gold medals with Team USA, and international basketball will always be a major part of his legacy because of his success representing the red, white, and blue.
But, no matter what he accomplished after he left Syracuse, his accomplishments in Central New York will always mean more because of how much changed at the school and city because of him, and even though he did not win the championship alone, he is the main reason it got done and the reason that in a down year for attendance, 20,000+ fans still packed the Dome for a March game against Wake Forest because he was in the building.
There was nothing more captivating than listening to him speak to the crowd of everyone who spoke that day, not John Wildhack, not Jim Boeheim, not Hakim Warrick, and not Gerry McNamara. People love Carmelo Anthony, and always will. He still means everything to SU, and that will never change.