Carmelo Anthony is opening up about his year off before rejoining the NBA last fall.
Speaking with the Uninterrupted podcast, the basketball star, 35, said between when he was cut by the Houston Rockets in November 2018 and then signed by the Portland Trailblazers in November 2019, he was working to "rebuild" himself "mentally, emotionally [and] spiritually."
"I don't think nobody will understand what I went through emotionally to get through and to be where I'm at today," he said. "I'm talking about doubting myself. I'm talking about mentally … wanting to give up."
Anthony said calls with pals and fellow athletes LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant helped "tremendously" during that period in his career — a time when he said he "hit rock bottom."
"I hit rock bottom emotionally, and I had to build myself back up, basically by myself, to get here where I'm at today to be able to tell this story," he said. "So this season will always be one of the highlight chapters of any story that I'll ever tell."
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The Trailblazers is the seventh team Anthony has been part of throughout this NBA career. He played for the Nuggets for six seasons after he was selected No. 3 in the 2003 NBA Draft. He joined the New York Knicks in 2011, and was later traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.
From there he joined the Rockets, and then was briefly on the rosters of both the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks, but did not join the teams for a single game.
Anthony previously credited his triumphant return to pro basketball to his family, particularly his wife La La Anthony, with whom he's had an on-off relationship after they tied the knot in 2010.
When the Power actress showed the athlete a FaceTime with their son Kiyan, 13, prior to a game in November, he went on to have a season-best for scoring. Carmelo said La La encouraged him to not give up.
“Mentally, she kept me going. Emotionally, she kept me going,” he said at the time, per ESPN. “She was nudging me, ‘Don’t do it, don’t think about it, don’t do it, don’t you let that thought creep into your head.’ So she was a major, major part of why I’m here today.”
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