Carmelo Anthony was out of the NBA for almost a year. Many have questioned his ability to impact a team. Doubters figured his career was over, while players around the NBA, including LeBron James, was confused on why no teams hadn’t given Anthony a call. He stayed patient and continued to work on his game. Throughout the summer, there were several videos surfaced of Anthony working out, and making jump shots. Most of his peers in the NBA he was working out with this summer, and they were very supportive of his attempt to return to the league. Anthony said, “Most of the guys that’s in the league I was working out with this past summer. We play together, and we work out together. They know it, they saw it and experienced it, they were in the gym with me. They saw how locked in I was. It was easy for them to support me. It was real, genuine love. The people that know they know.”
During Anthony’s time off the court, he wasn’t just sitting around waiting on a phone call. He was working out in the morning, and then getting ready for his regular day to day life with his philanthropic efforts around the world. Anthony’s foundation gives back to communities across the globe. Recently, he accepted the Sportsman of the Year Award at the Lou Gehrig Foundation Awards ceremony for his off the court success. Anthony says, “That was an honor; that was bigger than basketball, to be honest with you. That’s something you should appreciate. I really had to sit down and put my life into perspective, getting that Lou Gehrig Award and knowing what that means — seeing the strong people in there. Being around and talking to people with that disease, that’s more powerful than anything. It puts basketball into perspective; it’s not that important when it comes to life.”
Basketball has given Anthony the platform to impact millions around the world, so even when he’s done playing basketball, the philanthropy work he has accomplished will continue to grow. At the Lou Gehrig Foundation Awards ceremony, Anthony announced his foundation is expanding to South Africa.
Anthony’s off the court efforts expand deeper than basketball. To the outside world, it may seem as he fell off, but in fact, it was all part of a bigger picture, Anthony’s ability to impact the world. He mentioned, “We working. This year I had off allowed me to really lock into other business endeavors, and focus on being there day, to day, as opposed to having my teamwork on things. I’m there at the meetings, every day I was after it. In the morning I was training, after that I can get to life. At the end of the day, that’s what I was facing.” In retrospect sitting out a year wasn’t bad at all for Anthony. He had time to grow as a man, enlarge his business endeavors, and impact communities.
November 14, 2019, the Portland TrailBlazers signed Anthony, the 10x NBA All-Star, to a non-guaranteed deal. Fans and players were thrilled when Anthony made his return to the NBA. The day after the announcement, James stated that it’s not about the naysayers, but he’s happy that Blazers got him the opportunity. “I don’t think it’s about the naysayers. Obviously, that’s going to be some motivation for him. He belongs in this league. I’m happy the Blazers gave him the opportunity. I think he is going to make the most of it. We’ll see what happens. I’m just happy he’s back in the league,” says James. So far, he has proven the naysayers wrong.
Seeing him back in the league is significant for the culture because Anthony is arguably one of the best scorers to play the game. The NBA is much better with Anthony on a roster. Ever since Anthony has returned to the game, he’s been incredibly happy. You can see the excitement when he interacts with his teammates, or when he knocks down a three and does his signature three fingers to the head. Every game, the fans show love to Anthony. When they played in Chicago, the fans gave him a standing ovation. He is just one of those guys that everyone loves to see playing well. On the court is where he belongs.
The Blazers have welcomed him with open arms, and he’s been playing so well. Anthony didn’t have to rely on years of experience to get back into basketball rhythm. In a recent interview, Anthony stated, “I relied on the work I’ve been putting in over the last year. I rely on the people that I trusted to come alongside this journey with me, training, and self-motivation. Pushing myself to not give up at times. I relied on my knowledge of the game.” Even in times of doubt, he stayed focused and self-motivated. He pushed himself to get ready for where he is at today, a member of the Portland Trailblazers.
Within a year, Anthony has noticed how the physicality of the game has changed. Also, he saw how the referees are calling the games is different. Anthony says, “I have to adjust and get used to it, over time I will figure that out. That’s going to come with playing more games and experience. Just being out there more.” Anthony went onto say, “I’m coming into this game with a different mindset, totally different motivation. The way that I am approaching the game and see is different mentally emotionally, spiritually. A lot of things are clear to me now. I have a new outlook on self-motivation.” Anthony is thankful for this opportunity and will make the most of it.