"Of course, being back on that court is special."
Carmelo Anthony received a hero's welcome in his return to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, which once again had him dreaming of having his No. 7 jersey retired at The World's Most Famous Arena. Following Portland's 117-93 loss, during which Anthony scored a season-high 26 points, the veteran forward told reporters:
"I did glance up at the rafters today during the national anthem. You know, they say in life you've got to envision, so I was envisioning seeing Anthony hanging up there."
Knicks fans showed Melo love from the moment he was introduced until the final whistle, chanting "We Want Melo," as the home team secured their third straight victory.
"The love was definitely felt tonight," Anthony said, per ESPN. "From the fans that were here, just the city as a whole, just being back.
"I think that feeling is kind of hard to explain. But for me to kind of get that ovation, I think I've always had the love from the city like that. But to be back in this building where I spent so many years, that love felt extremely good tonight."
"I just wanted to come in and be out there and, at the end of the day, just play basketball," Anthony said. "Of course, being back on that court is special."
Speaking on his 6+ seasons with the Knicks, Melo added, “I enjoyed it. I’ve grown. I think being in this city makes you a specific type of person — not a basketball player — and for me to embrace that and want that, I think that’s why I got the love I got tonight. And I will continue to get that from this city.”