By Dakota Durant
The NBA is filled with tremendous talent, from young stars like Paul George, to veteran players such as Tim Duncan. Carmelo Anthony, the 2013 scoring champion, two time Olympic gold medalist, six time NBA all-star, and the leader of the New York Knicks has proven that he is one of the best players and pure scorers the game has seen. However an athlete, or an individual rather, is not only defined by his work on the court but off the court as well. Carmelo averaged 28.8 points per game this past season, with all of New York watching, but it’s what he does off the TV screen, and outside of the gym that makes Melo, Melo. Anthony has proven that his work doesn’t end at the sound of the buzzer in the fourth quarter, or in the final minutes of the season.
The Carmelo Anthony Foundation was established in 2005, and has allowed Melo along and his family to give back, and improve the communities around him. Carmelo has enabled programs such as a very Melo Xmas, Camp Melo, and Courts for Kids to take place. While Anthony and his foundation have impacted people of all ages, kids and young adults have benefited tremendously from his work. The Youth Development Center in Baltimore has provided a place for children to play and learn, and the Carmelo K. Anthony center at Syracuse University will definitely help transform college athletes into NBA stars. Carmelo’s list of donations and charity work, just like his list of basketball accomplishments goes on and on, however Anthony doesn’t do what he does for any sort of recognition. He gives back because he wants to, because he chooses to, and he’s grateful and appreciative of being in a position where he can.
After Hurricane Sandy, Carmelo returned to his hometown of Red Hook, Brooklyn to help all who were living with no food and no heat. This month, Melo went back to Red Hook again. This time, however, he was not there in the face of devastation, but more so for a celebration. We’ve seen Carmelo dedicate courts in Puerto Rico, but yesterday it was time to come home where it all started. As so many looked on, Melo cut the ribbon and opened a brand new basketball court in the place where he grew up. As Anthony took to the podium to address the crowd, the sound of cheers and applause filled the air, “A lot of people when they do stuff like this they always say it’s a dream come true, but for me when I say it, I really mean it.”
For Anthony, to be able to help any community is truly special, but to be able to contribute to the place where everything started for him is truly a blessing. As he thought back to the days where he was in Red Hook going to school, he emphasized that as a child he always had somewhere to play, a “safe haven.” Melo wanted to ensure that today’s youth have that very same safe haven, because at times children “don’t feel like they have something to do in the community.” Carmelo is fortunate enough to be in a position where he can give them that “something.” Before Melo left the podium he made sure that everyone in attendance knew that he would never forget the place where he came from. It’s safe to say that Red Hook will always hold a special place in Carmelo’s heart. Many young athletes will study Anthony. They’ll look up to him, because of his skill. However, there is much more to learn about Melo than the amount of points he puts up in a game. They shouldn’t just admire his talent on the court, but his great accomplishments off of it as well.
Check out pictures from the event here.