The news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death hit the entire NBA hard, but Carmelo Anthony took the tragedy especially hard.
Sunday was one of the most difficult days in NBA history and that’s not hyperbole. The legendary Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, were among nine who perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.
Carmelo Anthony called Sunday night the hardest game he ever had to play, but he knew Kobe would have wanted him out there. pic.twitter.com/0O6k0H2lpc
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) January 27, 2020
“That’s probably the hardest game I ever had to play,” Anthony told reporters after the Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Indiana Pacers. “I don’t know. … It was tough. It was tough.”
Bryant and Anthony were both members of the “Redeem Team” that won Gold at the 2008 Olympics. Like many players, Anthony was at a loss for words and still trying to process the devastating news. But there was one thing Melo knew: Kobe would have wanted him to play.
“Honestly, knowing him the way that I knew him, he would have wanted me to play,” Anthony said.
Among his long list of championships, accolades, and achievements, Bryant was one of the best to ever do it in Madison Square Garden. In fact, he set the MSG-scoring record with a masterful 61-point performance against the Knicks on Feb. 2, 2009.
However, his close friend, Melo, would break that record by one point in 2014. The 62-point outburst was Anthony’s career-high.
Kobe Bryant is never one to be outdone. Although Melo owns the MSG-scoring record, Bryant’s career-high of 81 points is second to only Wilt Chamberlain’s virtually unbreakable tally of 100 points.
Melo and Kobe are two of the best scorers in the history of basketball, but more importantly, they were close friends with tremendous respect for one another.