Compared to 2008 and 2012, this year's USA Olympic basketball team looks very different. The only person from either of the previous two teams is Carmelo Anthony, who won a gold medal with both squads.
Anthony is clearly the veteran leader that this team needs, but it looks like the New York Knicks star came very close to passing up on playing in the Olympic Games this year in Rio.
With his friends such as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Paul opting to skip due to personal and injury concerns, it looks like Melo came close to doing the same. On the international basketball standpoint, he has nothing else to prove.
According to USA Today, the pull from his teammates and US assistant/his coach at Syracuse Jim Boeheim convinced him to play.
“They were saying, ‘It’s your time, your Olympics. You should take advantage of this opportunity,’ ” Anthony said. “Once the guys started reaching out and talking to me about that, it felt good to hear my colleagues want me to have that.”
According to Boeheim, Anthony was on the fence playing in the Olympics after the NBA Finals.
“I told him two things ‘You can help us. We need a veteran guy. Second, you’ve been losing for three years. Let’s get a good basketball experience. This is something you really should do,’ ” Boeheim said.
Anthony eventually agreed.
“I get a chance to go out there, be the leader of the team and enjoy it,” Anthony said. “It’s about going over there having fun, getting the winning feeling back and trying to get another gold medal.”
Anthony looks to become the first player to get three USA Basketball olympic gold medals.