Have you ever wondered what the landscape of the NBA could have been if the Detroit Pistons selected Carmelo Anthony instead of Darko Milicic in the 2003 NBA Draft? If I were to discuss this in this article, it will open a Pandora’s box and many will share their own sentiments about it. But no one can discount the fact that Carmelo has achieved so much as a basketball player, winning the NCAA title with the Syracuse Orangemen, an Olympic Gold medalist, the NBA’s 2013 Scoring Champion, 10-time NBA All-Star and the list goes on and on.
Last Saturday, FIBA unveiled Carmelo Anthony as its newest Global Ambassador for the upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, he is joined by former Lakers-great Pau Gasol and the Argentinian legend Luis Scola. “It’s a full circle, I’ve been a part of FIBA Basketball since the early 2000’s, and to come back being the Global Ambassador of the World Cup, it’s definitely an honor and a blessing, it’s been along time coming, but for me it’s just about being able to build nations together, being able to bring nations together, bring people together; thru one coming thing, which is basketball.”
He was presented to the media at the historic Araneta Coliseum, where many historical sporting events took place, one of which is the Thrilla in Manila. The former Denver Nuggets superstar expressed his delight to be able to set foot in the same venue where his childhood idol, Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in 1975. “I felt it, I felt like I was Ali when I was walking in! Im one of the biggest Ali fans, you know the way that you guys love basketball, I love Ali! For me, to come into this arena, and knowing and understanding the history that took place in this arena, it puts a lot into perspective for me, I can check this off my bucket list.”
Melo, as most basketball fans call him, was also presented his very own Gilas Filipinas jersey with his name on it, he had a very nice smile as he held it up for a quick photo op for the media. He is also known to be an avid fan of sports memorabilia, and this will surely be a great addition to his collection.
Some relatives of mine from Los Angeles (who are also big Laker fans) would tell me that Carmelo always reminds them of me. To top that afternoon off, I was lucky enough to get a photo with Carmelo himself, so I sent them our picture together, and captioned it, “Now I can see the resemblance”.
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