Carmelo Anthony landed in Denver in 2003 as a bright-eyed, 19-year-old kid. All he did was lead the Denver Nuggets to the NBA playoffs for eight straight seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Nuggets failed to make the postseason for eight straight seasons. While in Denver, he averaged 24.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He was a four-time NBA All-Star and had the Nuggets on national television broadcasts on a very regular basis.

In 2010, when Anthony’s contract with Denver was coming to end and it became understood that he wanted to head east, he was traded. When he was finally sent to the Knicks, Anthony fetched a haul that was universally applauded.

For a year – maybe more, arguably up to this very minute – Carmelo Anthony is loathed in Denver.

Brock Osweiler waited patiently on the bench for three-and-a-half seasons behind a Hall of Famer who wasn’t about to share snaps – not in blowouts, not in practice – with him. When he finally got his chance to play, he led the Broncos to a record of five and two. In a season where the Broncos earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs and ultimately won the Super Bowl, those five wins proved to be huge. When he was benched right before the playoffs, yanked for a series of turnovers that, for the most part, were no fault of his own, he bit his tongue and did nothing to disrupt his team’s championship run.

When he accepted a four-year, $72 million contract ($37 million guaranteed) with the Houston Texans – and not the Broncos offer (reports ranged from three years and $45 million to four years and $64 million, with $30-32 million guaranteed) – he instantly became Enemy No. 1 in Denver. When he comes to town to face the Broncos on Oct. 24 this season, there’s no doubt he’ll be booed relentlessly.

Yet when Troy Tulowitzki returned to Coors Field Monday night, he was greeted with a lengthy standing ovation from the home crowd.

It was classy, no question. But I don’t get it.

I can accept the argument that Tulowitzki was an excellent player as a member of the Colorado Rockies. He was the face of the franchise; he was the best defensive shortstop in the game.

And I know what you’re thinking: He was traded, while Anthony (more or less) forced his trade out of town and Osweiler left like a thief in the night (and/or a big ol’ 6-foot-8 baby). It’s tough to argue that.

But let’s not forget…

Tulowitzki was a Rockie for 10 years, and helped guide his team to the playoffs twice. Melo was seven for seven (he was gone for an eighth, for which he should get partial credit); Osweiler was one-for-one (sort of).

As a Rockie, Tulowitzki’s regular season batting average was an impressive .299, but he also played, on average, just 104 games per season. In the playoffs, he hit .213 in both of his NLDS chances, .188 in the NLCS and .231 in the World Series. While his regular season averages were always solid, he was also known as being fairly “un-clutch” when the game was on the line. Last night, down four runs in the top of the ninth, Tulowitzki, who was already 0-for-3, popped up to make it a “perfect” 0-for-4. It was symbolic – a scene we here in Colorado had seen plenty of times. Twitter was abuzz with Rockies realists saying, “There’s Tulo being Tulo.”

Although Tulowitzki was allegedly “blindsided” by the trade that sent him to Toronto, let’s not forget that it was his own agent who originally began leaking hints that the unhappy shortstop wanted to be traded. Tulowitzki, later denied he was looking to be dealt, but amidst the rumors, he also said he wouldn’t mind playing for a team that “had a chance to be in the playoffs every single year.” And don’t forget his odd, midseason appearance at Yankee Stadium in 2014.

While he was upset with the trade, it’s fair to say that Tulowitzki didn’t necessarily endear himself to Rockies fans in that final season-and-a-half either.

Carmelo Anthony wanted out, but he was honest about it, giving the Nuggets time to make a deal that would also benefit them. Brock Osweiler, might have been miffed, but at the end of the day, he chose to take substantially more money.

In this town, how does one determine the difference between loathed and loved?

John Elway, with three Super Bowls in tow, is backed – almost blindly – while busily making ruthless business decisions on a daily basis.

The thought of Carmelo Anthony’s jersey hanging from the rafters makes some shudder, even though his name appears in the top 10 (mostly in the top 5) of most every statistical category in team history. Don’t forget, he never missed the playoffs as a Nugget – and took his team to the Western Conference Finals, just like Alex English and Dan Issel did.

The Monforts are vilified for being loyal to a fault. Yet, they’re also criticized when the decision is made to cut loose Tulowitzki and his noose of a salary. And when the two parties reconnect 11 months later, 36,419 fans happily fork over their hard-earned money to cheer on both.

Does any of it make sense?

Not to me. I don’t get it.