Twenty years ago, we witnessed two of the most iconic basketball players battle each other in an epic high school game, LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony. Yesterday (Dec. 12), we watched their offspring face off against each other on national television for the first time in their careers.
The game, which ended in a 62-51 victory for Sierra Canyon, was headlined by Sierra Canyon senior guard Bronny and sophomore guard/forward Bryce James, sons of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, and Christ the King sophomore guard Kiyan Anthony, son of Carmelo Anthony.
Long before the second generation touched the hardwood, their fathers faced off in an elite high school matchup in February 2002 in front of 11,000 fans at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, New Jersey.
Anthony’s Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) defeated James’ St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio), 72-66. James, the nation’s top junior at the time, had 36 points on 12-of-27 shooting with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. Anthony, then the No. 1 senior prospect, had 34 points on 14-of-25 shooting with 11 rebounds and 2 assists.
“It was a great show,” James said. “I wanted to play Oak Hill again right then and there.”
Although Carmelo had gone to the Syracuse Orange by then, the rematch came on Dec. 12, 2002, in LeBron’s national television debut — exactly 20 years before their sons’ contest.
Melo is currently a free agent but played with the Lakers last season alongside LeBron.
“We just felt like we’re from similar backgrounds … So we connected for that, before basketball,” Melo said of their bond on former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s podcast, “All the Smoke.” “… I was looking for some type of relationship like that with somebody, he was looking for that as well, so we came in each other’s life at the right time. We were both looking for that brotherhood.”
The two fathers were in attendance for Monday night’s game.
The next generation ?@KingJames | @carmeloanthony pic.twitter.com/dN3pM1TgLN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2022
Brothers ?? @KingJames pic.twitter.com/UEPK8VCJpJ
— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) December 13, 2022