Puerto Rico Rumors
Before Malik was born, basketball was already a part of his family’s life. His father, Michael Beasley, was playing professional ball overseas in Chile, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Malik can still recall the old newspaper clippings with stories in Spanish detailing some of his dad’s best games. “He has these newspapers from his time playing. They’re old and covered in coffee stains. I couldn’t ever read them because they were in Spanish, but I would just say, ‘wow, that could be me.’” By the age of two, Malik already have a basketball in his hand. “My first word was ‘basket.’”
His dad put Malik into an organization basketball YMCA program where Malik began to learn how to play the game. From then now, Malik and his father began to put in the work. “Once I decided I loved the game, it was time to get to work.” From early morning workouts to practices to games, Michael Beasley was along to help support Malik. “At first those early mornings, I didn’t really like it. At 6AM, I didn’t want to get up. But then, when I realized I really could make it to the NBA, it was my dad who I had to wake up instead of me.”
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.