Carmelo Anthony left an indelible mark on the basketball court one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, as well as on sneaker culture through his partnership with Jordan Brand. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer’s iconic sneaker line and player-exclusives helped make Melo one of the defining hoopers of his generation.
Anthony entered the NBA in 2003 as a highly touted rookie after winning the NCAA Tournament with Syracuse and being named the Final Four Outstanding Player. It wasn't long before he caught the attention of Jordan Brand. Known for his scoring prowess and undeniable talent, Anthony signed a partnership deal with Jordan Brand in 2003 for six years at $3.5 million per year. It was then the largest contract in Jordan Brand history and pinned Melo head-to-head with recent Nike signee LeBron James. This moment marked the beginning of a collaboration that would shape his career trajectory and the sneaker industry.
Under the Jordan Brand umbrella, Carmelo Anthony's signature sneaker line was born. The line represented his style, personality, and on-court dominance. Each sneaker release showcased a unique blend of performance-driven features and stylish aesthetics. From his first model, the Jordan Carmelo 1.5, to his final silhouette, the Jordan Melo M13, Anthony's sneaker line epitomized his versatility and penchant for buckets. With attention to detail, premium materials, and innovative technologies, the line consistently delivered sneakers catering to basketball players and sneaker enthusiasts' needs.
After a remarkable 19-year career in the league, Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from professional basketball this week. Despite no longer stepping onto the hardwood, his legacy and impact will endure. Anthony's partnership with Jordan Brand elevated his status in sneaker culture, leaving an imprint that transcends his playing days. His signature sneakers' authenticity, style, and performance continue to resonate with collectors, sneakerheads, and fans worldwide. His ability to merge sport and fashion through his sneaker line made a lasting impression, cementing his place as an influential figure in the sneaker industry. Now, we'll take a look at some of the best kicks he wore during his storied career.
Jordan Melo 1.5
The shoe that started it all, the Jordan Melo 1.5 (initially called the Carmelo 1.5), was released from 2004 to 2005. The sneaker draws heavy influence from the Air Jordan 1 and the Air Jordan 2, combining design elements with updated technology such as Foamposite. It was retroed for the first time in 2014.
Jordan Melo 5.5
Following in the footsteps of the Melo 1.5, the Jordan Melo 5.5 combines elements from the classic Air Jordan 5 and Air Jordan 6. Originally released from 2005 to 2006, the second signature sneaker for Anthony was well-received by fans for its clean look and on-court performance.
Jordan Melo M4
The Jordan Melo M4 was the fourth signature sneaker for Anthony. It is performance-driven and features removable neoprene ankle sleeves for snugness, Foamposite on the collar, and encapsulated full-length Air for impact protection.
Jordan Melo M6 Future Sole
While the Jordan Melo M6 might not have been popular, it did get a makeover courtesy of Austin Jermacans. The high schooler from Reading, PA, submitted his design as a part of the 2009 Future Sole contest and was the co-winner. As a result, his design was released in limited numbers and produced in various PE colorways for Anthony. Its design, story, and limited availability made the Jordan Melo M6 Future Sole a must-have for sneakerheads.
Jordan Melo M7
As Anthony ended his time in Denver and moved it to the Big Apple, the Jordan Melo M7 was seen on his feet in different iterations. Three versions of the Jordan Melo M7 were released: regular, Future Sole, and, Advance. While playing in Denver, Melo laced up the standard M7. In New York, he switched to the M7 Advance. This pair will forever be synonymous with Anthony and his transition from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks.
Air Jordan 2 Retro "Melo"
In 2004, Anthony's first retro was released for the public with the Air Jordan 2 Retro "Melo." Identical to his player-exclusive pair, this AJ 2 comes in a Denver Nuggets theme sans the Melo branding. It was retroed in 2018 and featured Melo branding on the insoles.
Air Jordan 4 Retro “Olympic” PE’s
As a part of the men's basketball team, Anthony helped Team USA win the Gold at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Jordan Brand cooked up various Air Jordan 4 Retro PEs for Melo to honor this achievement. Each pair comes in USA-themed red, white, and blue, with gold hits.
Air Jordan 9 Retro "MOP Melo"
Released in 2018, the Air Jordan 9 Retro "MOP Melo" pays homage to Carmelo Anthony winning the Most Outstanding Player award for the 2003 NCCA Final Four, where he led his Syracuse Orange to a national title. The sneaker features a white-based leather upper with woodgrain overlays and metallic gold detailing. Melo's number 15 is embroidered on the heel instead of the traditional 23. A full translucent gum outsole completes the look for this limited edition pair.
Air Jordan 10 Retro “Denver Nuggets” PE
Anthony's PEs while on the Denver Nuggets are still some of the best ever produced. Similar in design to his Air Jordan 2 Retro, this Air Jordan 10 Retro also comes in a Nuggets-themed colorway. The white-based upper pairs perfectly with university blue and varsity maize accents, which also make their way onto the outsole.
Air Jordan 11 Retro “Red” PE
Before the Air Jordan 11 Retro "Win Like 96" was released, sneakerheads begged for a red-based Air Jordan 11 Retro. Years before its release, Anthony received an all-red AJ11 exclusively for him. Melo's pair features a red suede upper with a white Jumpman embroidered on the ankle, black lining, white midsole, and icy blue translucent outsole. Because of the small differences, both AJ11s are unique.
Air Jordan 12 Retro “Denver Nuggets” PE’s
Before the Jordan Melo 1.5 release, Anthony wore various Air Jordans player exclusives on the court. One model he favored most was the Air Jordan 12 Retro. A handful of colorways were made, some of which feature "Melo" embroidery.
Air Jordan 13 Retro “Denver Nuggets” PE’s
In addition to the Air Jordan 12, Anthony also received various Air Jordan 13 Retro PEs. His Denver Nuggets "Home" and "Away" pairs are as clean as some of his other exclusives and just as sought after.
Air Jordan 23 “Denver Nuggets” PE’s
When the Air Jordan 23 debuted in 2008, it became an instant classic. What was originally going to be the final numbered Air Jordan signature sneaker, the AJ23 was worn on-court by Team Jordan members such as Ray Allen, Chris Paul, Kevin Martin, and, of course, Carmelo Anthony. Besides his Nuggets-themed pairs, Melo also got a special edition Air Jordan 23 to wear during the 2008 NBA All-Star Game.
Air Jordan 36 “Nike Air Bakin” PE
Inspired by the Nike Air Bakin, this PE edition of the Air Jordan 36 was made exclusively for Anthony's Team Melo AAU Team. It features a red-based Lenoweave upper with black stripes and yellow laces, mimicking the 90s Nike Basketball silhouette. Players got to wear them during the Nike EYBL Tournament in 2022, and of course, Melo got his pair, too. Unlike the others on this list, however, this one never made it to the court on his feet.