Carmelo Anthony: 'It's Only the Beginning for Me in New York'

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Carmelo Anthony: 'It's Only the Beginning for Me in New York'
Carmelo Anthony, wearing the exclusive IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot's Watch Edition Muhammad Ali, at the company's U.S. flagship store in New York City to announce his new partnership (along with Gianfranco D’Attis, IWC Brand President of North America). Photo courtesy of IWC

NEW YORK — For the past 10 years in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony has proved his craftiness on the court, becoming one of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen.

While it might not have been as noticeable to hoops fans since he was traded to the New York Knicks in 2011, Anthony and his business team have shown the same vision in approaching the New York marketing world. He has effectively navigated his way through the city's dynamic and diverse business landscape to enhance his brand.

And from the sound of it, he's not planning to leave anytime soon—even with an opt-out clause in his Knicks contract next year.

On Wednesday, Anthony explored another new New York business avenue—this time Madison Avenue, at IWC Schaffhausen's first U.S. flagship store, where he announced his partnership with the luxury watch company. Anthony, who's been a big watch fan since his youth, said the opportunity is just another big step in his business plan coming to New York.

Photo courtesy of Moët, sponsor of the event.
"I had this vision years ago," he told Bleacher Report. "I never believed that me coming to New York would come to fruition. I used to sit down with my team and say, 'Can you imagine if we could be in New York, with the creativity and thought process that we have?' Today, we're here and we see everything coming to fruition and playing itself out, and it's only the beginning for me in New York."

When Anthony arrived in New York, a Jordan Brand spectacle to celebrate the Melo M8 sneaker featured a stunt man jumping out of a helicopter and into the Hudson River, where holographic images of Anthony and his kicks appeared on the water. Since then, he had his own wax figure unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Times Square; he refurbished basketball courts for kids in his hometown of Red Hook, Brooklyn; and he sparred in a never-built-before pop-up ring (sponsored by Degree Men) atop the Madison Square Garden marquee against his boxing trainer, Hino Ehikhamenor.

During Wednesday's event, as part of IWC's "Globetrotter" series, the company played a film featuring Anthony. It paid homage to the city he calls home, highlighting his top destinations around town, which included the IWC store. Anthony initially got into IWC many years ago, when he purchased their Big Pilot’s Watch, and there are plans for his first customized timepiece.

"I had chances to go to a lot of other (watch) brands, but IWC is simple, authentic," he said. "You can't beat what they've been doing since (1868), and for me, that's kind of where I'm taking my brand and what I stand for—being authentic, being true to myself. Both brands connect, and we sat and talked for about a year-and-a-half now, and now we're finally here today announcing the partnership."

His love affair with watches started when he was a kid. He also developed a connection to them because of his interest in headbands. But it wasn't until he experienced high-end fashion and culture while in the NBA, especially in New York City, that he appreciated the true value of timepieces.

In fact, earlier this year, he became the co-founder and publisher of Haute Time magazine, a media venture covering luxury watches. He also writes a column called "Watch of the Day," and he began posting photos of his favorite watches to his Instagram.

"I've always been into watches, all across the board. Whatever I felt at that point in time that's what I got," he said. "That was the younger days, but then as you get older and you start learning more about timepieces, you start applying the watches like you're buying an art piece. I'm now an art collector. The watches that recently I've been getting will still hold some value 10, 20, 30 years from now."

Anthony said he feels "empty" and "not complete" if he doesn't wear a watch. That mentality carries over to the court, where he rocks a rubber wristband during Knicks games, which includes his brand and the team's logo as well as his son's name, Kiyan. As for Anthony's wife, TV personality La La, he has her full support when it comes to buying watches.

"She knows that's my field and she's like, 'Babe, I trust your judgment. Whatever you bring me home, I know that's the hot piece.'" 

Anthony even determines his daily attire based on the timepiece he picks out first. His preferred style is from the late '80s/early '90s. "It was a big era for me from a basketball, fashion and music standpoint," he said.

And his favorite element of a timepiece is its tourbillon movement. He even incorporated its look into his Melo M9 sneaker, and he has more ideas to incorporate it into other business properties.

"I wanted to kind of put that into my sneaker, in some way somehow, and try to play with that and see if we could intertwine some of the tourbillon movement," he said. "We did it to a certain extent, but now I know that we have the technology to be able to do that. I want to take it to a whole other level, whether I build an electronic line, a headphone line. I want to put the tourbillon in the headphones. The sky's the limit with that."

So if a championship with the Knicks is his main on-the-court objective, what's his goal off it? It's simple: the cover of Time magazine's "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" issue.

"That's my goal—to one day to see me on that Time magazine," he said. "I'm trying; that's my goal, man. A lot of people don't take advantage of the situation. For me, I know what I have to do on the basketball court. That comes first; that's a no-brainer. If I wasn't doing that, I wouldn't be sitting here today launching this partnership. I've got to take care of that first and then everything else comes secondary."

Some of Melo's favorite IWC timepieces. Photos courtesy of Carmelo Anthony

 

Follow Jared on Twitter and Instagram.

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