Carmelo Anthony is a complicated guy. I discovered that during his rookie season in the NBA. Since then, he has been criticized and praised, for his off-court troubles and his on-court results.
When he walked over to his locker cubicle at the Delta Center, that night in 2003, I expected either another entitled star, or maybe just a difficult guy to interview. He had been a big deal in college. But as he sat down in front of maybe a dozen reporters, he looked up into the cameras and said, "How can I help you?"
No attitude. No defensiveness. Just a willingness to help.
In later years, as his career continued in Denver, I always found him to be likable. But I had my impressions validated after he became the first man ever to win three gold medals in Olympic basketball, this week.
After the game, he also gave an impassioned plea for unity.
"In spite of everything going right now in our country, we gotta be united, and Im glad I did what I did, I stepped up to the challenge, this is what its about," he said, "representing out country on the biggest stage that you can be on. American will be great again, I believe that, we got a lot to but, but it's one step at a time, man. I'm glad that we represented it in the fashion that we did.
Anthony isn't perfect, as publicized brushes with the law, over the years, have shown. But he wants to be better. I saw that in the locker room when he was a rookie and again after the gold medal game in the Olympics. The country would do well to strive for success as hard as Anthony.