A History of Carmelo Anthony’s Signature Sneakers

Last year, Carmelo Anthony joined a very select group of players. From Allen Iverson to Michael Jordan to LeBron James to Kobe Bryant, there are very few players with at least 10 signature sneakers. The championship club is long. So is the MVP club. But this one is extremely limited. It takes a combination of charisma, charm, impressive and innovative designers, and a talented player who is not just an All-Star but a potential all-timer.

But somewhere along the way during the past year, we forgot who Carmelo Anthony was. Mostly because of the Knicks struggles, Anthony’s place among the game’s elite, and subsequently, his standing among sneakerheads, slipped. But with the recent unveiling of the Jordan Melo M11, a shoe that’ll be dropping on January 3 at Champs Sports, the 6-8 scoring machine is back on our radar.

This latest shoe features the Jordan Brand‘s incredible FlightPlate technology, as well as Nike Zoom in the forefoot and a molded ankle collar on the upper, one which features a super unique M-shaped design.

“When it was time to talk to the designers about this year’s model,” Anthony said, “I told them it was important for me to have a shoe that could keep my game fresh throughout the entire four quarters. Whether taking flight or landing, FlightPlate has great cushion, responsiveness and bounce.”

With a more sophisticated design inspired by New York City, as well as upscale products like wine, cigars, and Bugattis, the Melo M11 is the continuation of everything this line has come to symbolize.

Coming into the NBA in 2003 after a spectacular freshman year at Syracuse, where he won a national title as the best player in the nation, ‘Melo was an obvious start for JB. Anthony already had a relationship with them, one that dated all the way back to high school. During his first meeting against LeBron James while at Oak Hill Academy, Anthony played in a white/red/green version of the Air Jordan Jumpman J’Madness.

But ‘Melo went to another level with Jordan once being drafted by the Denver Nuggets. Some of his Air Jordan player exclusives — like his immaculate Jordan XIIs, the XX3s he’d debut in the 2008 NBA All-Star Game, and an untouchable pair of Jordan XIIIs — were out of this world. Playing in Nugget colors that seemed to work perfectly with Air Jordans was just the start. The first Carmelo signature shoe — the Jordan Melo 1.5 — debuted in 2004 to mostly positive reviews. The following year saw the release of the Melo 5.5, drawing heavily from the Air Jordan V. It was another strong sneaker bolstered by its leading colorways, and also the first to feature the now infamous “Melo” script. The following season and the debut of the M3 showcased a new ‘Melo icon for the first time ever, displayed on the upper’s ankle point.

Carmelo Anthony sneakers
@Jumpman23

Over the years, ironically, those three have come to be known as two of the line’s strongest editions.

During the following few seasons, even as the line transferred from under D’Wayne Edwards’ direction to Justin Taylor, encapsulated Air and Zoom Air became signatures. When Anthony was traded to New York City in 2011, his sneakers began to incorporate Flywire uppers and eventually with the release of the M10, they added Jordan’s innovative FlightPlate technology.

The launch of the M11 also differed from Anthony’s earlier shoes, especially in New York, because it wasn’t so centered on sticking to team-specific colorways. New York City is full of life, eccentric personalities, unique perspectives, and underground talents, and Anthony and the designers vowed to take advantage of that with colorways inspired by graffiti (“Concrete Jungle”) and Anthony’s home housing project (“Red Hook Sunset”).

Once upon a time, Anthony and LeBron James were linked through an almost unnatural obsession by the basketball world. They came in at the same time. They fought for the Rookie of the Year together. They were bound to be forever compared. Anthony’s sneaker line isn’t quite what LeBron’s is, especially in 2014, but Jordan Melos have been vastly underrated for a long, long time.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney