Carmelo Anthony, known to the world simply as “Melo” has regenerated a contagious spirit amongst New Yorkers, following one of the biggest trades in basketball history, which officially instated the basketball star as the small forward for the Knicks last year. This, however, is by no means the first fan-frenzy the 6 foot 8 inch basketball great has caused.
At 27 years old, Anthony has played professional basketball for eight years, but possibly his largest fanbase will always stem from his time at Syracuse University where as a college freshman, he led the team to a 30-5 record win for the 2003 NCAA Men’s Division Basketball tournament, beating four Big 12 teams on its way to the title.
After Syracuse, Anthony played a major part in turning around the Denver Nuggets when he brought them to the playoffs his rookie year and then made one of the biggest moves of his career in signing a $65 million, three-year contract as the Knicks forward. Anthony, together with his family, decided New York was the best place to bring his talents. When the trade announcement was made, Anthony expressed his excitement on national TV, “It was a dream come true for me and I’m ready to rock.” Throughout his rise to fame and fortune, Anthony continues to give back to the communities near to his heart. He donated $3 million for the development of the Carmelo K. Anthony Practice Facility at Syracuse University (one of the country’s top basketball facilities).
In 2005, The Carmelo Anthony Foundation was formed as a way for him and his family to give back to the community. The foundation aims to invest in and support programs and organizations that empower and provide opportunities for underserved children and families. Anthony, who was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Baltimore when he was 8 years old, grew up in a low-income neighborhood and strives to raise awareness and foster innovation through educational and recreational opportunities.
Recently, Basketball stars LeBron James and Chris Paul joined Anthony in a summer exhibition game in Baltimore while awaiting the start of the official season. Proceeds from ticket sales went to some of the many charities that the New York Knicks star is involved with.
This is a blessing for me [and] my family to be back home, back in New York and it’s all love.
While Anthony and his fans waited on the edge of their seats for one of the most anticipated basketball seasons to begin, the talented athlete kept his faith and maintained life as usual. With basketball training, the debut of his signature Jordan brand sneakers, a documentary about Mike Tyson which he produced, appearances on La La’s Full Court Life; his wife’s reality TV show (a spinoff of her TV wedding special which documented their star-studded, New York nuptials), and giving back, its a wonder how Anthony has time for it all.
In the midst of the NBA lockout, with no solution on the horizon, Anthony showed up to the Haute Living photo shoot with bright eyes, high hopes and an undeniably impressive sense of personal style. From Ralph Lauren to Yves Saint Laurent, Anthony modeled today’s haute fashions before speaking with long time friend and music producer, Swizz Beatz, who showed support for his friend by dressing head to toe in blue and orange. With a successful career, beautiful wife and family and much to be grateful for, Anthony shares his style, hopes and dreams.
INTERVIEW between Swizz Beatz and Carmelo Anthony
SB: Check it out, check it out this is Swizz Beatz, aka the Renaissance man and we’re doing it real major here at the Haute Living shoot. I know a [few] issues before, you saw what we did in here now we [have] the king of New York in here, my brother right here, Carmelo Anthony doing it real major and we are going to ask him a few questions about how it feels to be the king of New York.
CA: (Laughs) That’s a lot man. That’s a lot of pressure. I don’t think God puts you in situations that you can’t handle. This is a blessing for me [and] my family to be back home, back in New York and it’s all love. I wish we could be playing right now, but it is what it is and for the most part it’s lovely. The city is lovely, the fans out here are incredible and the energy is very, very high so I enjoy that.
SB: What did it feel like the first time you walked out on that hardwood, which I had access to being front row, right there. What did it feel like when you walked out there and knew that that whole stadium was filled up because of you?
CA: It was crazy because I was coming from LA after All-Star weekend, so it’s tiring after a six-hour flight. I had to come right back in and play on two hours of sleep. I was coming into a situation that I had no idea about. The team, the organization, I had to adjust to that. I had to jump right on tour. All-Star game in LA and [then] jumped right into the Knicks uniform and it was a dream come true for me. Just to run out [of] that tunnel and hear [the song] I’m Coming Home. I never get anxious, I never get nervous, but that moment right there just gave me goose bumps.
SB: Now, what was the importance of you having the number seven?
CA: Number seven. First of all, the number 15 was [already] retired by Earl Monroe. I went to him and said, “Earl, man, I need number 15.” He said, “Melo, you can have it. We’ll do a ceremony and we’ll bring it back down.” A week went by and I decided I want to start out fresh. This is a new chapter in my book, a new beginning. So I decided on seven. I want seven. My son was born on March 7th. So seven is a completion. I’m here in New York and that’s a sign of completion. I feel I’m complete right now.
SB: That’s amazing, man, congratulations on that. What’s the importance of having businesses outside of sports? Because a lot of people in the sports industry, they have multiple things that they’re into but what separates the boys from the men on that side of things?
CA: It’s all about being smart and knowledgeable about what other business endeavors you want to get [involved] in, not just getting into it because it’s a fun thing to do or your accountant or your business manager brought it to you. You have to really know what you’re getting into. There are deals out there, companies that I could get into but I have no knowledge of the companies so for myself, I like to break it down, see if my brand will fit with that brand. If it does, then we rock out. If it doesn’t then we [can’t] take that risk.
SB: We all know that you’re into fashion. What does [fashion] mean to you? What brands do you look out for that you can get your best look [from]?
CA: Fashion depends on the individual, whatever the individual is feeling that day, that’s [his or her] own self, [his or her] own fashion. You call yourself “The Renaissance Man,” I have a [classic], edgy style but with some new school too. My old uncles, they always tell me I have a ‘60s soul. For the most part I wear Yves Saint Laurent, Thom Browne, Simon Spurr. They’re some of the companies that are up-and-coming, some of the edgy companies that I am really rocking with right now.
SB: How has the lockout affected you, if at all?
CA: It affects me mentally to know that we’re in the middle of November right now, Thanksgiving is about to come and we aren’t playing any games. You wake up in the morning and think you have to go to practice and have to drive out to the gym but there’s nothing. So I have to spend that time doing different things. For me, I have other things going on and focus filling in the blanks on some of my businesses, just until the season is back.
SB: If you were in charge and you were able to call certain shots with [the lockout], what would you do differently?
CA: You have to understand we’re dealing with billionaires, as you know. They didn’t get to where they are [without intelligence]. For us as players we also have to stick to the script, we have to stick together. At the end of the day, we run this league. People come to see us, people come to watch us, we bring the excitement to the arena; we sell the tickets. We know that the owners spent all this money and they are losing all this money, but at the same time, we’re supposed to be partners in this. So, as partners we work it out, we talk it out. Something that they don’t like, we don’t like, we bring it to the table. So far, that dialogue, that communication is not there.
SB: What does Haute Living mean to you?
CA: Haute Living is a lifestyle. It’s fashion, it’s hip-hop, it’s music, it’s art, it’s being creative and it’s you, It’s me. It’s Melo, it’s Swizz. Haute Living, it’s a lifestyle.
Since the interview, the NBA has come to an agreement, ending the lockout. Fans everywhere anticipate the season, which will begin on Christmas Day. After the announcement was made, Anthony tweeted to his loyal followers on Nov. 26, “Just wanna say Thank You to the fans for your patience and understanding thru all this!!!!!! Glad to give you the game of basketball back.” As a New Yorker, I can assure Anthony, the fans can’t wait either.