The NBA is, and always has been, a league full of stars. Sure, every sport has stars, but the NBA is one of the few leagues where an individual player can perform in a way that allows them to steal the show night after night and become international icons. Every now and then, they even appear to resemble Babe Ruth’s description by the kids in “The Sandlot.” Less than a god, but more than a man.
Of those current stars, few have been as great as Carmelo Anthony. Considered a rare “can’t miss” prospect when he entered the NBA draft coming off of a national title win at Syracuse, Melo has been nothing short of phenomenal ever since. In 11 NBA seasons, he has made 10 playoff appearances, garnered six All-Star selections, been a perennial MVP contender, set team and franchise records on both the Nuggets and the Knicks, and even helped snag a couple of gold medals for USA basketball, just to name a few accomplishments. Simply put, in a league that houses the absolute best basketball talent in the world, Carmelo Anthony’s position as a top five player has never been an argument.
Recently, he teamed up with Degree to host a one day basketball clinic at the Chelsea Pier Sports Center in NYC as part of their “Do More” campaign where, with help from his trainer, Melo ran participants through a series of basketball drills and exercises. After going through the clinic myself thanks to an invite from Degree, and verifying beyond a doubt that my dream of being an NBA player is likely not going to come true, I got a few minutes to speak with Melo himself.
So, tell me a little about what you’re doing here with Degree?
Well, today with Degree is part of a campaign for the motion sense technology that’s in the newest line of deodorant, and is also a part of the “Do More” campaign that tries to inspire people to actually do more and be more active in their day to day life and just…kind of just push people and give them more incentive. It’s an inspirational program that Degree and myself came up with and want to expand.
One of the best stories heading into this season is the Knicks/Nets rivalry. Is that as big of a deal in the locker room as it seems to be in the media?
Not now, no. Maybe the day before the game or the day of the game, but for now we’re not thinking about that.
Do you get the feeling, though, that New York really is becoming a basketball first town?
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, at first it was a Yankees town, then it was a Giants town, and now New York basketball as a whole is back. It’s the biggest sports town that’s out there right now as a whole.
Of course with the way the Giants and Yankees seasons are going, you really have a chance to make an impression.
(Laughs) Yeah, absolutely. Hopefully we can do that.
Going back to the Nets, they’re kind of the newest team to do the “Boom or Bust” method, and bring in big name guys and risk it all to gain everything. What do you think about that movement?
I mean…I was actually surprised that they pulled the trigger on that, but I also wasn’t surprised because anybody that has the opportunity to make a step like that forward has to jump on that ASAP. I think that’s what the Brooklyn Nets did, and they’re trying to get it now. They’re not thinking about next year or anything like that, they’re thinking about this year.
You do have a couple of new additions to the Knicks in Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani. How do you see them fitting into the team?
Easy. Those spots that they’re going to be playing lets them come in and fill some voids so easy. Those were some of the spots that we were actually missing last year when we had a somewhat successful season, and they will fill them easily. Andrea will come in and fit right in and just play his game and focus on basketball, and for Ron to be able to come in and bring his talent and his expertize to the team…we’re really excited about that.
You’re one of the most scrutinized statistical guys in the league, but how much do you actually pay attention to your personal numbers throughout a season?
Never. I never do.
That being said, are their any games that stand out in your mind as being the most memorable single game you put up?
No, nothing really jumps out as far as one particular game.
Before I let you go, I have to say that I saw the most incredible movie trailer for a Chinese film called “Amazing,” featuring you, Dwight Howard, Scottie Pippen and a few others. You’ve got to tell me what that’s about, and how that came together.
This was probably three…maybe three or four years ago. I got a call from one of the companies I was already dealing with, and they said they had a script that they wanted me to read. I was like, “There’s no way that I’m going to do this.” It’s in China, it’s a Chinese film…there was just no way I was going to do it. But then, from a business standpoint, I was thinking I might never get a chance again to film a movie in China (laughs). So to go over there and do that movie was really special. I actually thought it was going to be like a lower budget kind of film, but after seeing the trailer and things like that, it really looks fun.