Carmelo Anthony is in the NBA, officially making LeBron James the only active player from the 2003 NBA Draft class. After the Lakers got swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, James said Anthony's retirement was not a surprise to him.
"I kind of knew the announcement was going to happen cause I shot the video a week ago," James said, then paused while there was laughter in the room because of an implied reference to the "LeCap" memes.
"So people will probably think I'm lying about that too, huh? I shot the video like a week ago so I already knew the announcement was coming. I just didn't know which game and it happened today. But it's still bittersweet."
"I was in Denver for his first Playoff game...you could look that up just in case you think I'm lying about that too." 🤣— NBA (@NBA) May 23, 2023
LeBron James speaks extensively about the retirement of his good friend, Carmelo Anthony.#NBAConferenceFinals presented by @GooglePixel_US pic.twitter.com/T1hTcfe7MU
James said Anthony has been one of his best friends since before they began their NBA careers. He reminisced about playing against each other in high school and their late nights talks outside of hotel rooms. They motivated each other by reminding themselves that if they made it to the league, the could help their mothers.
"I believe we was a driving force for one another. We were locked at the hip since high school, you guys saw that when we got to the NBA" James said.
That 2003 NBA Draft class included Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kendrick Perkins and Luke Walton, among many other very recognizable names. James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the No. 1 overall pick, while Anthony was picked No. 3 by the Denver Nuggets.
James -- who just wrapped up his 20th season in the NBA -- said that when the Cavs didn't make the playoffs during his first year, he went to Denver for Anthony's first playoff game.
"You could look that up, too, just in case you think I'm lying about that, too," James joked again. "So definitely just a bittersweet moment today to see one of my great friends — I never like to say call it quits — just to say that it's an amazing run. An amazing accomplishment. An amazing career. And you know we just we'll always be joined at the hip no matter what."