ATLANTA — Carmelo Anthony looked like he was all done just a couple of seasons ago.
Now, he’s part of a truly exclusive club in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Welcome to the Top 10, Melo.
Anthony scored 14 points Monday night in Portland’s 123-114 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, moving him past Elvin Hayes for 10th place on the career scoring list with 27,318.
“If you’re in the top 10 of anything of all time, it’s a special moment,” said Anthony, who’s in his 18th NBA season and turns 37 before the month is out.
Anthony cruised past Hayes early in the second quarter, hitting a three-pointer while getting fouled by Danilo Gallinari and knocking down the free throw to complete a four-point play.
Anthony was fully aware of how many points he needed to surpass Hayes.
“I knew this moment,” he said.
“I didn’t know those other moments — 15, 13, 11. But 10 is something I knew.”
It appeared Anthony was headed for a forced retirement after he played just 10 games during the 2018-19 season.
He parted ways with Houston, was waived by Chicago and didn’t hook up with Portland until the next season was several weeks old.
Even though he went more than a year without playing a game, Anthony found new life and a new role with the Trail Blazers.
A starter his entire career, he’s now coming off the bench, playing a supporting role to younger stars, players who still look up to him, such as Damian Lillard.
“Being in the top 10 in a really special accomplishment,” Lillard said.
“For him, it’s probably a little more special. A lot of people counted him out and tried to finish him.”