ESPN The Magazine’s feature on Carmelo Anthony’s image and off-court dealings went up yesterday. You can click here to read the article. Below are some of the best (and/or worst) quotes from the piece:
Carmelo Anthony arrives a few minutes late to his second job, and he hurries into a back office to change out of his basketball uniform and into a sweater and loafers. “Sorry, sorry, a CEO should never be late,” he says, apologizing again to his staff of six, which assembled for this urgent meeting in Brooklyn at his request.
First off, anyone who apologizes for being late while also reminding you that he is the CEO is a Grade-A asshole. We are off to a bad start.
Anthony purchased this office space about a year ago, even though he was still unsure what he wanted to do with it — still unsure what he wanted to do himself…. There is no hint that its current occupant is an NBA star. Anthony redecorated the walls with African art and a portrait of Albert Einstein.
Putting up a portrait of Einstein is such a Melo move. If you do that, everyone will think that you are smart, right? That’s like the kid in college who put up the poster of the two chicks making out on the keg to tell everyone he loves pussy and drinking. OK, bad example. That poster fucking rules.
“So who exactly is Carmelo Anthony?” asks the branding expert, Anthony Rodriguez, kicking off the meeting. “What do you want to be known for?”
“Are you a basketball player? A New York Knick? The league’s most unstoppable scorer?” Rodriguez asks.
“No way,” Anthony says. “This isn’t just about basketball. I hate just being known that way. It’s got to be bigger than that.”
This quote drove me bananas. Melo, can we focus on the basketball side of your career for the next 5 seasons while you are still somewhat in your prime and the Knicks are paying you $20+ million each year? Is that too much to ask? Let’s try to make the playoffs in a weak-as-fuck Eastern Conference before attempting to become the next Warren Buffett. Deal?
He just signed a five-year contract with the Knicks worth $124 million, forgoing a better chance to win a quick NBA title with the Bulls and instead staying with a lesser team that offered a longer, more lucrative deal. “I’ve got money. That’s not the problem,” he says. The problem as he sees it is that he is still defined mostly by what he lacks. No championships.
Let’s do this one SAT question style:
Having money is not the problem. Not having a championship is the problem. Which is the best way to solve the problem?
A. Take A LOT of money from a shitty team that won’t be competitive for a few seasons
B. Take a lot (but still considerably less) money from a team that is always competitive
C. Start a bunch of businesses and hope that no one notices you have never won a championship
D. Both A and C
(The answer is B unless you are Melo).
What set him on this quest for redefinition wasn’t losing in the first round of the playoffs eight times, or being called selfish or greedy, or being plastered on the back page of the New York papers a few hundred times under headlines like “Losers!” and “Stinko De Melo.” No, the thing that finally made him doubt everything he had or hadn’t done during his NBA career was the throwaway answer his 7-year-old son gave on a homework questionnaire, when asked to write a few sentences about what his father did for a living.
“Basketball player,” Kiyan Anthony wrote, and then he left the rest of the space blank.
First of all, if you ask a group of 7-year old kids what they want to be when they grow up, 90% of them will say “Basketball player”. Melo is probably a God is his kid’s eyes, yet THAT was the moment the made him doubt everything he had done? Second of all, Kiyan Anthony probably wrote that answer with a $5 million diamond crusted pencil that his dad could afford because he is a basketball player. Third of all, fuck you Melo.
By the way, “Losers!” was the perfect headline to describe last year’s Knicks team.
So early in 2013, as Anthony entered the last year of his contract with the Knicks, he began thinking not only about his next contract but about the future that awaits him after he stops playing. He studied other athletes — David Beckham, Andre Agassi, John Elway, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson — whose postcareer brands he admired and called some to seek advice. “How can I control my own reputation? How can my influence outlast my career?” he asked. Anthony says they all told him the same thing: Find one thing you’re passionate about and start building on that now.
A quick breakdown of those athletes’ professional careers:
David Beckham: 7 Championships
Andre Agassi: 8 Grand Slam Titles
John Elway: 2 Championships
Michael Jordan: 6 Championships
Magic Johnson: 5 Championships
But yeah, find something you are passionate about. On-court success has absolutely nothing to do with off-court success or how the public perceives you. <Places gun in mouth>
Along the way he developed obscure high-end habits that tended to show off his wealth: Nicaraguan cigars. Italian top hats. Ascot ties. Rare red wines. Vintage sneakers. Installation art. Ralph Lauren and Gucci. He hired a New York stylist to buy his outfits and deliver them with personal instructions about when and how they should be worn.
Well at least that explains this fucking abortion.
And I guess Melo doesn’t subscribe to the LL Cool J motto of “Man made the money, money never made the man” from the criminally underrated Loungin’ Remix.
He always has been a self-described gadget freak, traveling on road trips with two iPads and three pairs of headphones.
Two iPads and three pairs of headphones on road trips? HARDOOOO.
Late in October, after a preseason Knicks practice, Anthony pulls out his laptop and navigates to a site called CrunchBase. “This is where I spend most of my free time now,” he says. The Knicks are a few days away from opening the season, their first under new president Phil Jackson and his triangle offense and the 12th on which Anthony’s reputation seems to hinge. “People say every year is the one that will determine if I’m great or terrible, if I’ve met expectations or been a disappointment,” Anthony says. “To be honest with you, I’m tired of it.” He knows he is sensitive to what people think of him, and in earlier seasons he sometimes styled his play in a failed attempt to appease his critics. “I passed more if they said to pass more or shot more or whatever, and that’s no way to live,” he says. Now he has vowed to stop reading about himself in the newspaper or watching sports on TV. When his teammates turn on ESPN in the locker room, he logs on to CrunchBase.
This is our superstar, Knicks fans. While LeBron is figuring out the exact amount of HGH to pump into his body without getting caught and Kobe is cycling his blood with pure Aryan plasma, Melo is hitting F9 to see how his investment in Lyft is doing.
“I really do love this city,” he says. “It’s the best city, but it’s also a tough-love place.” He arrived in New York as an eight-year veteran, but in some ways those first months in New York taught him how little he actually knew. He felt scrutinized in Denver, but everything intensified in New York: expectations, successes and failures, all played out every morning on the tabloids’ back pages. This is a place where fifth is never good enough and where his legacy is not just a private preoccupation but a citywide saga. He thought coming to New York would increase his influence and amplify his voice, but instead he now believes it mostly distorted it.
New York isn’t a place where fifth is never good enough. New York is a place where second is never good enough. It is really that simple. If you win championships, you can keep the media at arm’s length while fucking every supermodel in the world (#Re2pect) or be wildly inconsistent for your whole career (Elisha Nelson Manning).
If you don’t win, the media and fans will pick you apart, no matter how fair/unfair it is (Tri-captain, Number 33, PAT-RICK EWING!!!). If that is too confusing or demanding for Carmelo, he should get the fuck out of NY as soon as possible. Because it is only going to get harder as the years go by without a championship.