For many, the thought of Carmelo Anthony starting another NBA game in Denver would have seemed ludicrous just a few short weeks ago.
Nonetheless, when the Portland Trail Blazers travelled to the Mile High City, Anthony was in their starting lineup, as he once against faced the team that selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.
The now 35-year-old spent eight seasons with the Nuggets, suiting up in 564 games, earning four All-Star selections in the process -- Anthony was traded to New York in February of 2011, in a blockbuster trade that sent shockwaves around the league at the time.
Asked postgame about the possibility of having his jersey retired in Denver, Anthony responded without hesitation, "this is where it should be retired to be honest with you."
A smiling Anthony then correctly noted that Nikola Jokic now wears his longtime No. 15 with the franchise, "we'll see," he said with a laugh.
Anthony averaged 24.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his time with the Nuggets.
Melo believes his jersey should be retired in Denver 👀- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 13, 2019
Fast forward to December 2019 and Anthony made his seventh return to Denver, though, just like the six previous visits, his team left with a loss.
The Nuggets trailed by five points early, but that was it, as the Blazers led by as many as 18 points on their way to a 114-91 win.
Anthony continued his heavy workload since his return to the league, seeing the floor for 36 minutes, tallying 20 points on 8-for-16 shooting while also reeling in nine rebounds.
Agent 00-7 pic.twitter.com/4Y1EyAHKbd- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) December 13, 2019
Despite the stong performance from the veteran forward, the Blazers were no match for the Nuggets who were able to utilise a 10-man rotation while Portland were stuck with eight players in the high altitude of Denver.
Nikola Jokic finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Nuggets, while Jerami Grant added 20 points off the bench.
Portland are now 10-16 on the season, while Denver improve to 15-8, good for the fifth seed in the West.
Until next time, the Carmelo-Denver curse lives on.