LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both vividly remember the exact moment their friendship began.
It was on the staircase of a Pennsylvania hotel in 2002, the night before James’ St. Vincent-St. Mary played Anthony’s Oak Hill Academy in one of the biggest high school basketball games of all-time.
The two fresh-faced teenagers sat on that staircase and spoke for hours.
They barely touched on basketball, with so much in common off the court.
“You know, we were looking for kind of that brother link,” Anthony told The Athletic. “You know, a brother, right? He was looking for that, I was looking for that, and the timing of it was just perfect.”
Their bond grew from there, and only became stronger over all those the years they spent together on Team USA.
“He’s that person who, like he would tell you that he might know me better than I know myself,” Anthony continued. “He might tell you that. I might disagree, but he feels like that. So that’s special for somebody to be able to feel like that.”
When you consider everything those two went through together, it should come as no surprise that all these years later, James is extremely proud of his friend for fighting off what looked to be the premature death of his NBA career.
“It’s like, when people throwing stones on you and trying to bury you alive and you able to rise above that shit?” James told The Athletic. “That’s amazing. Shit kind of hit home. It’s a beautiful thing. Beautiful thing. Only the strong survive.”
After thinking they might never get a chance to share the floor again, James and Anthony will face off once again when the Lakers visit the Blazers on Friday night.
The basketball world can’t wait, and that excitement is still nothing compared with LeBron and Melo’s.
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