It would have been hard to imagine us being here, following a summer of athlete protests with Carmelo Anthony leading the charge not only for the NBA, but for the sports family at large. Anthony’s transformative shift from “NBA star who hasn’t won” to “NBA star and social activist” truly began last year when he marched through the streets of Baltimore protesting the death of Freddie Gray. Today, Anthony regularly speaks out about issues concerning race relations and police brutality, and because of his willingness to do so, he’s become a leader of a generation after many questioned whether he could become a leader of a basketball team.
Over at Bleacher Report Mag, Lars Anderson wrote a wonderful profile on how Anthony is currently becoming the face of activism in the NBA. We learn about Anthony’s rough background in Baltimore and hear why his cousin’s death changed his life forever. A dedication to basketball didn’t exactly turn Anthony into the leader that everyone wanted him to be, but now he’s become much more than just a leader of ball players – he’s becoming a leader of men.
“Carmelo taught us all this summer what it means to use your position to influence the world,” Kyrie Irving told Anderson. “He taught us that we need to stand up for what we believe in and that athletes need to get involved in the social issues that are affecting us all. I don’t think you can overstate the impact that Carmelo’s had on athletes in all sports.”
Anthony’s summer hasn’t just consisted of speaking out about social justice issues; he’s also put the onus on other athletes to do the same. In an Instagram post earlier this summer, he made a call for all his “fellow athletes to stand up and take charge.” He also called out Michael Jordan, saying that “it’s about time” he spoke out about issues affecting the black community, and he joined LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul by leading off the ESPYs with a heartfelt call for peace.
Before he left for the Olympics, Anthony set up a private meeting in Los Angeles to discuss police shootings. While in Rio, Anthony was the only player to visit one of the country’s favelas, a poverty-stricken neighborhood full of violence and drugs. He’s learning to view the world from myriad angles to have a better understanding of how to deal with the issues he faces domestically — and it’s something Jerry Colangelo saw in Anthony during the trip.
“The world is full of problems, and Carmelo finally said, ‘I’ve got to do something,’” Colangelo told Bleacher Report. “He showed other athletes that it’s good to be visible and it’s good to express your views. It just shows you how much he’s matured.”
With NBA training camps set to start next week, Anthony has a full season ahead of him to continue showing why he’s become one of the league’s best leaders during a time when leadership is needed most.
(via Bleacher Report Mag)