Anthony, Carmelo 1984–

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Carmelo Anthony 1984

Professional basketball player

At a Glance


In any year but 2003, basketball player Carmelo Anthony would have been the biggest story in the game. But 2003 was the year of LeBron James, the high school player who made the cover of Sports Illustrated and was acclaimed as the heir apparent to National Basketball Association (NBA) great Michael Jordan. In the NBA draft held in the summer of 2003, Anthony was selected third by the Denver Nuggets, behind James and Serbian center Darko Milicic. And in Rookie of the Year balloting that followed the 2003-04 NBA season, Anthony came in second to James. Constantly playing second fiddle to his friendly rival might have been difficult, save for one thing: Carmelo Anthony was a winner. He led Syracuse University to a national championship in his freshman year, and he helped turn the league-worst Denver Nuggets into a playoff team in his first season. Despite falling just short of the top honors in professional basketball, Anthony performs at the highest levels and in the views of most observers is destined for a bright career in the NBA.

Anthony was born on May 29, 1984, in Brooklyn, New York, to Carmelo Iriarte and Mary Anthony. He was the youngest of four children, and his father died of liver failure when his namesake was just two years old. His mothers work as a housekeeper did not provide much money for the family, and when Anthony was eight they moved to a crime-ridden neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, known as The Pharmacy for the ready availability of illegal drugs. Mary Anthony did not let her familys difficult circumstances stand in the way of her expectations for her children. She demanded that Carmelo keep his grades up, even as he began to show signs of becoming a basketball talent in his early teen years.

Anthony entered high school at Baltimores Towson Catholic High School as a talented but undisciplined player, but he quickly grew more serious about the sport when he was cut from the team as a freshman. In his sophomore and junior seasons in high school Anthony worked hard at improving his game and he grew physically, reaching 6 5 by his sophomore year. He was soon identified as a rising star, which brought a new set of problems. Anthony told Sports Illustrated: As a good player in the inner city, youre always hearing people saying that youre better than you really are and that you dont have to do things like everybody else. When I was in Baltimore I took all that talk and ran with it. It distracted me from my schoolwork. I started getting suspended. Backed by his strong-willed mother, Anthony made the decision to leave Towson Catholic and get serious about school and his game.

Before his senior year in high school, Anthony transferred to Oak Hill Academy, a Baptist boarding school in rural Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Oak Hill was a basketball power, known for producing players who went on to successful college and professional careers. But it was also demanding academically. Before Oak Hill would even take Anthony, he had to attend five weeks of summer school. Steve Smith, the coach of Anthonys Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team, told Sports Illustrated: He had to give up a lot of the

At a Glance

Born on May 29, 1984, in Brooklyn, NY, Education: Attended Syracuse University, 2003-04.

Career: Denver Nuggets, professional basketball player, 2003-.

Selected awards: USA Today, First Team High School All America, 2002; Parade, First Team High School All America, 2002; NCAA Final Four, Most Valuable Player, 2003; Sporting News All-American Team, 2003; ESPN, ESPY Award for Best Male College Athlete, 2003; NBA All-Rookie Team selection, 2004.

Addresses: Office c/o Denver Nuggets, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, CO 80204. Web

summer basketball camps and events that players love to attend [to get ready for Oak Hill.] He would go to classes from 7 a.m. to noon, six days a week, and then at 2 p.m. each day he had to meet me in the gym. The discipline paid off, for Anthony succeeded academically while leading the Oak Hill basketball team to a 32-1 record and a ranking of third in the nation from USA Today, Anthony averaged 21.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. The highlight of his senior season was a victory over Akron, Ohios St. Vincent-St. Mary, which was led by LeBron James.

Though some encouraged Anthony to go straight from high school to the NBAfollowing the example of stars like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnetthis mother knew better. I didnt want him to go to the NBA, Mary told Sports Illustrated. When you get all that fame and fortune, honey, you become a man, right then and there. I wanted my son to have a chance to be 18 years old. Instead, Anthony chose to attend Syracuse University, where coach Jim Boeheim was building a team of young and capable players. But no one predicted that Syracuse would have the season that followed.

From his very first college basketa dunk against MemphisAnthony showed that he was a star-caliber college player. During the regular season he led the Syracuse Orangemen with 22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while playing 36.4 minutes per game. Then Anthony led his team to six straight victories in the NCAA tournament, culminating in a 20-point, 10-rebound performance as they defeated the University of Kansas 81-78 to take the national championship. The Sporting News summed up Anthonys remarkable season by noting that Anthony played the college game better than any freshman in NCAA basketball. Ever. Coach Boeheim echoed these sentiments, telling Sports Illustrated that Anthony is the best player Ive ever coached, both on and off the court. There was never a problem with him. In the admissions office theyre always looking for that kid who acts like hes from the suburbs, nice and well-mannered, but when it comes to basketball [we] want him to be tough as hell and banging people. Carmelo is all of those things.

Anthonys freshman season at Syracuse banished any doubts about whether he was ready for the NBA, and he was selected as the third pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets, who had won just 17 games in the previous season. From the moment he was selected, Anthony endeared himself to Denver fans, praising the beauty of the city and promising that he would work his hardest to bring quality basketball to the city. Then he timed his contract signingvalued at $8.67 million over three yearsso as to help the franchise free up money to sign free agents. The crowning glory came when Anthony led to the Nuggets to a season-opening win over the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

Anthony enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with the Nuggets. He started in all 82 regular season games, posting an average of 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while averaging 36.5 minutes of playing time. Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe told Sports Illustrated: Carmelo is more than a scorer. Hes going to be a very good rebounder and a great passer. He helped lift the Nuggets to a 43-39 overall record and into a first round playoff berth against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though the Timberwolves won the series 4-1, all of Denver recognized that their team had taken huge steps forward. Anthonys season was capped when he came in second to LeBron James in NBA Rookie of the Year voting.

For Carmelo Anthony the future looks very bright. Not only a solid player, he is widely viewed as a likeable player who gives back to his family, his team, and his city. One of his first acts on signing with the Nuggets was to buy his mother a home in Baltimore, and he is a big supporter of the Family Resource Centers, a Colorado organization dedicated to family and childrens support services. On his personal Web site, CA15, he explained his support for the charity: I came from an area where I saw poverty and hardship, and Family Resource Centers makes a big impact in helping people in those situations. If I can make a difference in my community to help people who are struggling, then in the long run, it will make my career more fulfilling. Anthony will become even more of a household name in 2004, when he plays for the U.S. national team at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.



Carmelo Anthony: Its Just the Beginning, Positively for Kids, 2004.


Denver Post, April 4, 2004; June 23, 2004.

New York Times, July 27, 2004, p. D7.

Sports Illustrated, April 16, 2003, p. 24; June 23, 2003, p. 86; November 17, 2003, p. 64.

Sporting News, April 14, 2003, p. 1; November 17, 2003, p. 22.


CA 15, (July 27, 2004).

Carmelo Anthony, NBA, (July 27, 2004).

Carmelo Anthony, USA Basketball, (July 27, 2004).

Carmelo Anthony Signs with Nuggets, Inside Baltimore, (July 27, 2004).

Prospect Profile: Carmelo Anthony, NBA, (July 27, 2004).

Tom Pendergast

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Anthony, Carmelo 1984–

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