Puerto Rico Rumors
Anthony, a longtime soccer fan, said he had observed how the game had grown in recent years, particularly among youths. So when he learned of the opportunity to start a new club, he saw potential: to build something of his own and to contribute to a community that is important to him. “He wanted to bring something back to Puerto Rico,” said Adrian Whitbread, the club’s coach. “There was a void.”
“This is a long-term investment,” Anthony said last week. “It’s not something that I’m looking at as a get-rich-quick type of thing.” Asked how much money he had poured into the team, Anthony said, “That’s undisclosed.” Anthony covers the club’s losses, said Payne, who added that one of his goals was to see the club double its average home attendance, to 8,000 from about 4,000 a game last season. Ticket prices range from about $8 to $50. (Anthony wanted to sell them for $5 apiece before Payne intervened.)
Earlier this month, Rose had his first chance this summer to hang with Anthony over a few days. They were in Puerto Rico, where more than half of the Knicks came to support the star’s seventh annual “A Very Melo Weekend” community event in his home country. In between enjoying the festivities, which included Anthony unveiling his seventh refurbished basketball court in town, the players trained in the gym and ran on the beach together. Rose said the Bulls never had an offseason bonding experience like that.
Carlos Arroyo (2004 Olympian, Puerto Rico): I mean, nobody expected us to win that game. At half, we were up 21 points, if I’m not mistaken [Editor’s note: it was actually 22, 49-27], and we were in the locker room like total silence. We were looking at each other like, “This is not happening.” Anthony: I remember we was, at one point, we was down 40 points – almost 40 points. I look up in the stands and all the Puerto Rican flags are in the air and they banging on the sticks and they got the horns going and they just got everything going. It was one of the most embarrassing moments for myself.
But with his health in question, the Puerto Rican national team may be forced to qualify for the Olympics without their unquestioned leader. With that said, Barea vows to return to his elite play next season, hoping to use this summer to recover from his minor aches and pains. “I’ve got to let the groin heal and just get some rest. I’ve got to get a small scope on my right knee, and then we’ll go from there,” Barea explained.
He added: “I’ve got to give this some rest. And when this is all good, I’ll see how I feel and make a decision. … You know, it’s super important for me to play for Puerto Rico, and I think it also helps me to stay ready for the next season, so we’ll see how it goes.”