Former Syracuse basketball star Carmelo Anthony could be headed for his 11th NBA All-Star Game — much to the chagrin of his critics.
The NBA released the first returns for All-Star fan voting on Thursday, and Melo is among the leaders in the Western Conference. Early ballots show him ranked No. 8 for the frontcourt position with 319,128 votes, behind his Los Angeles Lakers teammates LeBron James (No. 1 with 2 million votes) and Anthony Davis (No. 6 with 592,281 votes).
Many were quick to criticize the attention that Anthony is getting. He’s fourth on his team in scoring with 13.3 points per game and seventh in rebounding with 4.2 boards, yet got more votes than L.A. teammate Russell Westbrook (9th among Western Conference guards with 210,065 votes), who averages 19.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game.
USA Today’s Mike D. Sykes II complained that Melo also had more votes than Rudy Gobert, “arguably the most important and most impactful player” on the Utah Jazz, which are currently third in the west with a 28-10 record. (The Lakers, by comparison are 20-19 and sixth in the conference.)
“I get that he doesn’t have the flashiest game. He’s not even necessarily the most likable player out there. But Rudy Gobert is much, much better than just over 218,000 votes. Much better,” Sykes said.
Top vote-getters also included the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving and the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, who have each played in just one game this season.
“Thompson and Carmelo Anthony clearly got their votes for sentimental reasons,” CBS Sports’ James Herbert wrote.
“Saw Derrick Rose, Carmelo, and Westbrook have more votes than Edwards and Vanvleet and almost had a stroke,” a Twitter user added.
“Sorry #DamianLillard but this voting is a joke …klay??? Wiggins?? Even Melo has more votes than Dame. Lol,” another tweet said.
“It’s disgraceful. Carmelo Anthony was begging for a roster spot a couple of years ago. He’s got 300k votes!” a third complained.
Anthony, 37, is a 10-time NBA All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist who led SU to an NCAA title in 2003. He was also named one of the 75 greatest NBA players of all time and is ninth among all-time scoring leaders in his career, which includes stints with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Fans can vote for Melo and other favorite players until NBA All-Star Voting concludes on Saturday, Jan. 22. One full ballot may be submitted each day via the NBA App and NBA.com/vote, as well as vote for up to 10 unique players per day on Twitter.
Fan voting updates will be shared on Jan. 13 and Jan. 20. The NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced Jan. 27, and the reserves (selected by NBA head coaches) will be announced Feb. 3.
The 2022 NBA All-Star Game is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Cleveland.