New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told Al Iannazzone of Newsday in a report published Tuesday that he wants to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics despite persistent soreness in his right knee during this year's NBA regular season.
“I want to go,” Anthony said. “I look forward to being a part of that. Not too many people can say they played in four Olympics and have a chance to win three gold medals. Not too many people can say that. To me that’s the way I look at it and the way I approach the Olympics.”
He also told Marc Berman of the New York Post, "By that time, my knee will be fine. I'm not too concerned with the knee. My knee will be extremely fine by that time."
In fact, among basketball players, only LeBron James would also be able to call himself a four-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist if Team USA wins gold at this summer's Olympics. The duo has played in every Summer Games since 2004, winning the bronze medal that year before taking home the gold medal in the past two Olympics.
And Anthony wants to go down in Olympics history, as he told Iannazzone:
Nobody can take that away from you, being a part of history. Since ‘04 up until now, being a major part of the growth of international basketball, USA basketball, being there when we were at the lowest of the low when it comes to basketball internationally and then experiencing two gold medals, the way that we did it, I sit back and I dwell on that. I realize this is a special moment.
It isn't a guarantee that either Anthony or James will be on the Olympics roster, though it's hard to imagine head coach Mike Krzyzewski passing over either player in Rio if both want to play. While Anthony has now made it clear he'll be available, James' status with Team USA remains up in the air.
When asked if he thinks James will participate in this year's Olympics, Anthony told Berman, “I hope so. We don’t talk about that stuff now. Offseason we’ll discuss that."
Despite his lingering knee issues, Anthony, 31, is averaging 21.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Knicks this season. While his scoring numbers are the lowest since his second season in the league, Anthony remains a reliable scorer and would be a valuable asset for Team USA, even if he came off of the bench while some of the NBA's younger stars took more of the spotlight.
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