Four years ago, I wrote in this space about Carmelo Anthony as an Olympian. About how Melo, beloved by Syracuse fans for bringing a title to Cuse in 2003, has struggled to win in the NBA.
But in the Olympics, he’s THE guy. That was in 2012.
Now it’s 2016, and Melo remains just as important, and arguably more important to this year’s squad than he did those four summers ago.
Four years ago at the London Olympics, Melo played well, but he was also on a team with LeBron, Kevin Durant and Kobe. He didn’t have to be the leader.
This year in Rio, Melo is the unquestioned leader and veteran on a younger Olympics squad missing the usual big-time names.
In Team USA’s win over Australia on Wednesday, Melo became Team USA’s all-time scorer, and you could argue he single-handedly carried Team USA to a win on a night that Durant didn’t have his best game.
This is his fourth-straight Olympics. He’s been around the block before.
As I wrote in 2012, and yes, this very much applies now: “The Olympics represent a chance for Anthony to be the hero that everyone envisioned him being when he left Syracuse.”
That is exactly what Melo was against Australia. He’s not the New York Knick, not the player right below the rung of elite talent in the NBA. In the Olympics, he’s the guy. He’s the leader Team USA needs.
Because as great as Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and co. are, Melo’s been playing in the Olympics since before any of them were even in the NBA. Heck, Melo was playing in the Olympics when I was in middle school.
The Olympics are his thing. And he does it well. So let’s give him that. It’s a pretty impressive thing to have on your resume. Credit where credit is due.
Of course, go get that third gold medal first.
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