The 2014 offseason might go down as the summer LeBron James returned home. Or, if he somehow finds a way to get the Knicks back into championship contention for the first time since Jeff Van Gundy was hugging ‘Zo’s leg for dear life, it could be the watershed summer for Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo, despite the timeline not matching up, actually believes his decision to re-sign with New York affected LeBron’s decision to head north to Ohio.
‘Melo spoke with former Giants defensive lineman and current ABC co-host of “Live! with Kelly and Michael,” Michael Strahan, in a Q&A for Adweek. The two touched on LeBron’s decision to head back to the Cavs, with Strahan asking whether LeBron’s action affected Anthony’s choice to stay with the Knicks:
Strahan: [On being a pro athlete in New York] Not only on the court, but off the court, you’re the leader. Everything you do is more scrutinized. You have to be more careful than anybody else. And watching LeBron [James] go back to Cleveland, did that affect your decision on staying in New York, and did you learn anything from watching LeBron go back home?
Anthony: No. Honestly, I think it was the other way around. I think he saw when I came back home to New York and saw the response and saw the reaction and saw how at peace I was when I came back home. … I’m pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that that was a very special moment, and he had the opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love.
So, um, we knew ‘Melo was staying with the Knicks after it was leaked to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, even though ‘Melo’s five-year, $124 million deal wasn’t officially confirmed until July 12. James published his “I’m Coming Home” essay with SI on July 11. Both of those decisions were probably made a couple days in advance of the news making it’s way to the general public, but Anthony’s decision still came before LeBron’s, so we’re not sure how ‘Melo’s choice may have affected LeBron at all.
Then again, Anthony could be referring to his trade from the Nuggets to the Knicks in February of 2011, a coming home of sorts, though probably not what he’s referring to. His answer is ambiguous enough for us to give him a pass on this, even though it seems like he’s talking about re-signing with the Knicks.
[Ed. Note: The headline was changed to reflect this, since it’s unclear what ‘Melo was referring to]
Strahan and ‘Melo also touched on paying college athletes and stereotyping people as just athletes, since both Strahan and ‘Melo are trying to become mega-brands, known just as well for their off-court endeavors as their athletic ones:
Strahan: How do you feel about college athletes getting paid for playing?
Anthony: I think you have to. As a collegiate athlete, you have to be compensated for something. I mean, these universities, they’re making millions and millions of dollars off of merchandise, off of game tickets. I think athletes should be compensated for that.
Strahan: I agree with you.
Strahan: Do you think that people stereotype you?
Anthony: The only stereotype I get a lot is when I do these other business ventures and it’s like, “Oh, he’s an athlete.” I don’t like that.
Strahan: And it eats you alive, doesn’t it?
Anthony: I hate to hear that: “Oh, he’s just an athlete. He should just be focusing on playing basketball.” And for me, you know, I try to do a lot of different stuff, from fashion to tech to art, just trying to broaden my brand. But basketball is my foundation. Let’s not get that misconstrued. I kind of use that as a launching pad for everything else.
Strahan: That’s when I first started doing Live! “Oh, what’s the football player doing on there with Kelly Ripa?” It made me mad. And even as a player it upset me when people go, “Oh yeah, you’re that football player.” Because you want to define yourself outside of what you do.
What do you think?
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