Carmelo Anthony: "It's been a long time and a long wait to get this gold medal"
by Marc Narducci / September 8, 2008
What does the gold medal mean to you?
Carmelo Anthony: For me I’ve been doing it for four years, trying to get a gold medal. In 04 we won a bronze medal. It’s been a long time and long wait to get this gold medal. It’s a great deal for me to get that second chance to go there and fight for my country and play with the guys I played with and go through what we went through over the past four years to get the gold medal.
You and Michael Phelps are both from Baltimore. Did you get a chance to see him compete?
CA: I went to a couple of his meets, went to medal four and five and couldn’t get to eight. We had a shootaround or something. He knew I was watching him from afar. What he did was history, and I felt I was part of history in my own way (seeing him compete).
Can you explain the differences in the philosophy of the 2004 team and this year’s team that asked for a three-year commitment from players?
CA: I think having the commitment over three years rather than putting a team of all-stars together in a week and a half and telling them to go defend your country and try to win a gold medal, is the way to go. You can’t do it the way we did before. Guys like myself, LeBron and D-Wade committing for three years, we set that platform to let them know it’s not all bad to commit for three years in order to go over there and win that gold medal.
Do you like traveling around town in your hometown of Baltimore with your gold medal?
CA: It’s been exciting. To be back here, to bring a gold medal back to where I grew up, is a great thrill. I brought it to my rec center and let the kids see it and gave a little speech about what it took for me to get that gold medal. I let them know I was once one of them before and had a dream of being an NBA player but never had the dream of winning a gold medal. And holding a gold medal in my hand is the best thing.
The U.S. had it relatively easy until the last game with Spain. This was a team you beat by 37 earlier, but Spain gave the U.S. all it could handle in your 118-107 championship win. Does it mean more to win a much tighter game for the gold medal?
CA: What other way would you want to play a championship game than that way? Our margin of victory was like 20, 30 points before that championship game. In that game Spain wasn’t going to quit. We knew that and knew what we were in for. That was one of the best games I ever played in.
What are your thoughts about the Nuggets this year?
CA: We are good. As long as I’m there we’re all right. We have a shot at something. I think this will be an impressive season for the Nuggets. We are motivated and want to prove that since we lost our defensive player of the year (Marcus Camby), our best defensive player on the team, we still can do it. That will bring everybody close this season.
How tough was it losing Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers, especially since Denver only received the option to swap second round picks in 2010 and a $10 million trade exception?
CA: It was tough. The hardest part about that was knowing that we gave up a two-time defensive player of the year and didn’t receive anything back. That was the toughest thing to deal with. People get traded every day, that is the business but to know we only got a future second round pick was tough. You can’t cry over spoiled milk. It’s done and over with and we have to move on.
Allen Iverson can be a free agent at the end of the season. Do you think that this could be his last season in Denver?
CA: You don’t know what can happen. Anything in this business can happen. You don’t know what will happen. We have to go out there and try not to dwell on those things and just play ball.
What was practice like with the Olympic team?
CA: The practices were like games. I think the practice was better than the games, competing against Dwayne Wade, Kobe, LeBron and all those guys. The intensity we had in practice (was great) and you have to understand all the fun we had making each other better. It was a little better than some of the games we played.
As soon as the games were over they were asking you about competing in London during the 2012 Olympics. Any thoughts on the subject?
CA: They were asking me that during the games about competing in London. I am hoping and I am open to 2012. I am only 24 years old.
How hard to win a gold medal compared to way used to be?
CA: I was joking with Mike (Phelps) because for him one meet is a medal. We have to play eight games to play one gold medal so we were laughing and joking about it. As Americans, you go over there, you are not jut competing against the team you are playing against, you are competing against the rest of the world.
Do you worry about fatigue after playing so much basketball this summer?
CA: No. I look at it like, during this time, I would be working out anyway. I just got the best workouts I could possible get in the summer time.
There aren’t many teams where Dwyane Wade would be coming off the bench. That accents your point about the good workouts.
CA: Exactly. That shows you the talent out there.
Marc Narducci s a frequent contributor to HoopsHype.com
Tell us what you think about this interview. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com