Melo returns to Syracuse for first time as a Knick

Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony celebrates during the first half

Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony celebrates during the first half against Kansas during the NCAA men's final. (Credit: AP, 2003)

SYRACUSE -- Carmelo Anthony said he had to prepare himself mentally for his return to the Carrier Dome, but it didn't stop a flurry of emotions Sunday.

"A lot of memories come back into play," he said. "Walking out the tunnel, walking into the arena, just being on the court, seeing all the banners and just seeing that orange and blue brings back a lot of memories."

Melo-palooza began with Knicks practice at the dome Anthony called home and continued with a visit to Syracuse's practice facility, which bears his name. Anthony, who led Syracuse to the 2003 national championship, donated $3 million to the university to help build the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.

On Monday night, the Knicks face Philadelphia in the Carrier Dome. It's considered a home game for the 76ers, who started their basketball lives as the Syracuse Nationals, but Anthony will be feted like a conquering hero.

Anthony has played here twice with Denver, but this is the first time as a Knick and the first time since Jim Boeheim's wife, Juli, convinced him to help the practice facility project. It opened in 2009, and he was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"His wife was calling and was like, 'Melo, is there something you can do to help give back with the university?' " Anthony said. "And then the practice facility came about. I was like, 'I really don't know if I want to do that.' And I was like, 'But I would do it if I could get my name on there.' "

Anthony was asked, jokingly, why he couldn't get the Dome named after him.

"I can't do that," he said. "I ain't that special."

Notes & quotes: Ronnie Brewer, who had his left knee scoped in September, went through practice in full Sunday. Woodson said Brewer probably will start at shooting guard Monday night.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NBA video

advertisement | advertise on newsday