On the podcast, Jalen and Jacoby, Jalen Rose often refers to Paul Pierce’s years with Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Clippers, as part of his “Lost Tapes”. He has made a similar reference to Carmelo Anthony’s years with the New York Knicks. However, Anthony has proven to be relevant and important public figure, despite a inconsistent success on the basketball court.
The “Lost Tapes” reference stems from a 2002 album released by famous Hip-Hip artist Nas. The album including many songs that were discarded and unreleased from previous recording sessions. Carmelo Anthony, for better or worse is often compared to his contemporaries and friends like, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul. Public perception largely favors James and Wade, who have won multiple NBA championships, as well as Paul, who despite not having major success in the playoffs, is seen as a strong leader and one of the top offensive and defensive point guards in the NBA. Anthony’s isolation heavy offensive skill set and lack of success with the Knicks have led to trade talks during this season and split between fans in New York; half wanting Anthony to leave the Knicks, half wanting him to stay. However, it is difficult to say that Anthony’s tenure with the Knicks has been a complete failure. Anthony is easily one of the most recognizable faces in the NBA, and, outside of Eli Manning, the highest profile athlete currently playing in New York. While wins on the court have been hard to come by, Anthony has enjoyed success in the Olympic games, he has been a strong social activist, and he has enjoyed a fair amount of success in business.
Anthony’s crowning basketball achievement may be that he has won 3 Olympic Gold Medals with team U.S.A, a feet that no other N.B.A player has accomplished in the history of the game. Since his trade to the Knicks, Anthony has won two Gold Medals, however, during his most rent stint with team U.S.A, Anthony took on more of a leadership role as the elder statesman on team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. In a 2016 article for USA Today Sports, Andrew Joseph writes, http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/08/carmelo-anthony-usa-basketball-gold-medal-interview-olympicsAfter defeating Serbia 96-66 in the Gold Medal game, an emotional Anthony, stated
“I know this is the end. This is it for me. I committed to something … I committed to this in ’04. I’ve seen the worst, and I’ve seen the best. And I stuck with it. We stuck with it. And I’m here today, three gold medals later. I’m excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this. Coach K, myself, Jerry Colangelo and everybody else who have been a part of this situation — who have been a part of USAB since I’ve been here.”
To date the Knicks a combined win-loss record under .500 since Melo was traded to from Denver, and have been past the 1st round of the playoffs once during a 54 win season in 2012/2013. Carmelo Anthony has not seen a lot of basketball success during his years with the Knicks, however, an argument can also made that, the franchise has been in a constant state of flux since his arrival in 2010. Anthony has gone through five different coaches, over 70 different teammates, and several different General Managers and President of Basketball Operations. Yet, his experience with Team U.S.A has been a success, something that Anthony takes great pride in, and something that no one can take away from him.
Off the court, Anthony has also made a large impact in the community with his role is social activism. During the summer of 2016, Melo held a town hall meeting with law enforcement and members of the Los Angeles community to discuss issues related to the gun violence and tensions between the police and minorities. Ian Begley of ESPN quotes Anthony saying http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/17122662/carmelo-anthony-hold-social-activism-meeting-los-angeles-address-police-shootings,
“What I’m doing now is trying to lay the foundation down and just trying to take advantage of this platform that we have,” he said. “Hopefully everybody in their own individual rights branch out and start doing things on their own.”
Anthony was one of the first athletes to speak publicly on this issue and has vowed to keep the conversation going; clearly this is a milestone in his career, that has nothing to do with basketball. However, his stance and actions have demonstrated leadership qualities that are important for any athlete or human being. Knicks fans can be disappointed with Anthony and a team that has missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, however, as a Knick, Melo has carried himself with class and has been a role model.
In the past free-agents have seen New York as a desired location because big-markets can often elevate a player’s brand and popularity. This has certainly been the case with Anthony. According Forbes, as of July 2016, Anthony made a reported 31 million dollars including his NBA salary, and money made from endorsements. Anthony currently has deals with companies like Nike and Jordan Brand, and has even started his own tech enterprise, Melo7 Tech Partners, LLC. Additionally, according to the website TheRichest.com, Melo’s current net worth is close to 90 million dollars. In 2016, Anthony also purchased a professional soccer team in Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico FC, who play in the North American Soccer League (NASL). In an article written by Jeff Carlisle for ESPN FC, Anthony explains his passion for soccer http://www.espnfc.us/north-american-soccer-league/story/2486769/nba-star-carmelo-anthony-buys-nasl-side-puerto-rico-fc
“I just always kept it to myself and among my circle. Going to games, sneaking into games and just watching and being around the sport over the years. The more time I started spending in Puerto Rico over the past six, seven years I realized that there was kind of a void down there on my island. The island didn’t really have anything that they could kind of call their own, that they could represent not just on the island but from a global standpoint.”
In the same article, Anthony continues to explain that, while he is a hands-on owner, he has a strong team to run the day-to-day operations of the team. However, during the NBA off-season, Anthony often spends time in Puerto Rico, which gives him the opportunity to monitor his investment.
Clearly, Melo has branched out into different areas of business and is cognizant of the fact that he will not be able to play basketball forever. While many of Anthony’s critics will point to his career with the Knicks as a failure or as part of his “Lost Tapes”, Melo has been successful off the court and with team U.S.A. Our society lauds and praises athletes with championship rings, yet Anthony has clearly grown and embraced his role as an ambassador for the game. A future hall-of-fame player, Anthony’s worth to New York and its community cannot just be measured in wins and loses.