After exploring free agency and traveling around the country to visit four different organizations, it seems Carmelo Anthony is really happy to be back in New York. The small forward has been working hard on his health (losing a lot of weight to lessen the impact on his 30-year-old veteran joints), his game and his charity events, and the latter is going to make a big difference for him and the New York Knicks‘ youngsters in the long run.
Every year Melo hosts an event in Puerto Rico called “A Very Melo Weekend” where he builds basketball courts for local children and raises money for local projects. That’s cool, isn’t it? The guy is giving back to the country his father was born in.
The important part for the Knicks is that this year he was joined by the young trio that will be the heart and soul of Melo’s supporting cast for the season: Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin and Cleanthony Early.
These three players are going to be responsible for bringing energy, speed, youth and effort off the bench. These guys are going to have to be there for Melo when he needs a breather, and building chemistry like they did this weekend is great for the team as a whole. If they take this friendship to the locker room and spread the feeling of protecting one another on the court, this will be the kind of epidemic a winning team needs.
Sir Charles Barkley tells a great story about his relationship with Doctor J and Moses Malone when he joined the Philadelphia 76ers. He says they were important in the beginning of his career and how this foundation made him a better professional and a better man. I think what Melo did this weekend is the beginning of a second-hand mentoring process that will make these kids do whatever they need in order to help him and help the team win by Anthony’s side.
Picture from Shane Larkin’s Instagram: