Home Sports Carmelo Anthony weighs in on Michael Jordan-LeBron James GOAT debate

Carmelo Anthony weighs in on Michael Jordan-LeBron James GOAT debate

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Carmelo Anthony wasn’t comfortable with the question, but he acknowledges there is just one basketball GOAT — Michael Jordan.

The former New York Knick — who talked with CBS Sports on Thursday about his thoughts on the 10-part “The Last Dance” documentary that ended a few weeks ago — was reluctant to choose between Jordan and his pal LeBron James, but still came down in favor of “His Airness.”

“You know, M.J. is the GOAT. He’s the greatest ever,” said Anthony, who is now with the Portland Trail Blazers. “We all know that and we all agree to that. Why can’t we say that, but also give LeBron his flowers while he’s here too?

“Why can’t we say, ‘M.J. was very great, LeBron is very great, Kobe is very great.’ We’re not allowed to say those things today, because it’s always this or that, and that’s just our society — you have to choose one.”

Anthony — who has developed a relationship with Jordan since signing with the Jordan Brand in 2003 and has known and played with James since high school — has a good knowledge of the dynamic duo, but says it’s hard to compare the two because they are “two totally different players.”

Anthony, 36, also said GOAT debates prevent fans from having a deeper joy of the game.

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo AnthonyNBAE via Getty Images

“I don’t like it,” he said. “And I say that because whenever we do that, we fail to appreciate what we have in front of us. Any time these comparisons are made, whether it’s anybody — old school versus new school — it’s like, why can’t we just appreciate everybody for what they bring to the game?”

Anthony also told CBS Sports that “The Last Dance” documentary put a human face on Michael Jordan and demystified his career, especially for the younger generations.

“I think it’s surprising to people because they never knew who he was as a person — they never knew what type of person he was. Everything was just, ‘M.J. the great. M.J. the GOAT. Basketball God. Black Jesus. Black Cat.’ That’s what they knew,” Anthony said “But they didn’t know who he was. It was a myth. He was a mythical person, like a mythical creature.

“Nobody understood who he was or what he was. I think seeing him kind of take the lid off the pot and having the chance to kind of just tell his story and people can hear his passion — what he’s into, what he’s not, and how he operates on the day-to-day, his mentality. Most people loved it. Some people were very surprised. And then there were people who hated it, because a lot of times people hate the actual truth.”

Anthony, who has faced harsh criticism at times throughout his career, said he could relate to Jordan sometime being misunderstood or portrayed negatively. But unlike Jordan, Anthony hasn’t used the slights as direct motivation to prove his critics wrong.

“It hit home, but then you also understand that at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do if somebody wants to put a negative narrative out there about you,” Anthony said. “There’s really nothing you can do, so what I’ve learned over the years is, whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. Whatever people are gonna say, people are gonna say. Just don’t give them anything to talk about. You’re doing your job and working hard. If you know you’re putting your all into it, anything somebody else says doesn’t even matter to you.”

Speaking of criticism, one NBA insider recently told The Post’s Marc Berman that Anthony could have been the Knicks’ Michael Jordan, but blew it.

Charley Rosen, Phil Jackson’s biographer/confidant and his former Albany Patroons assistant, said if Anthony had embraced the triangle like Jordan eventually did, he and Jackson would have found success together with the Knicks.

“Carmelo undercut him, telling [Kristaps] Porzingis not to say anything in public about how good the triangle was,’’ Rosen said. “Carmelo refused to run the triangle — which is why Phil re-signed him: There was a lot of pressure from [owner James] Dolan. But if Carmelo would’ve run the triangle, he’d be open on the weakside.

“He’d have to pass and do this and run around, but he’d ultimately have a whole side wide open — 16-17 feet away from the basket. The defense would be too far away to double. He’d have open jump shots and was one or two dribbles from the basket. He’d be a killer. He’d be Michael Jordan. He’d be unstoppable. But Melo was catch and shoot and didn’t want to do other things.’’

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