Melo: ‘Regardless of Who the Commander-In-Chief is… We Can’t Stop Working’

One night after perhaps the most bitter presidential election race in United States history ended with highly controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump successfully pulling off the most unlikely political upset victory since Harry Truman shocked Dewey in 1948, New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony was discussing how he was able to lock into a zone during which his hot third-quarter shooting led his team to a big rally — and eventual victory — of its own.

With the fallout of the surprising election result still fresh in everyone’s mind, the topic of basketball quickly gave way to the election and Anthony’s earlier role with publicly speaking out against the nation’s gun violence and police brutality issues -using social media and ESPN’s ESPY awards as platforms — along with good friends, fellow NBA stars, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul.

James, Smith and the rest of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will coincidentally being visiting President Barack Obama on Thursday as president-elect Trump also meets with Obama at the White House to discuss transfer of power items, a little more than two months before Trump officially succeeds Obama as president.

Asked if he had voted in the election, Anthony said, “Of course, of course. I wasn’t missing that opportunity,” hinting strongly — without saying it directly — that he opposed Trump’s rhetoric and views for the country and the world, and that his vote was for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, whom James stumped for toward the end of the her campaign, with his teammate, J.R. Smith, who remains a close friend of Anthony’s, after the two played for several years together in Denver and New York.

“I wasn’t surprised (at the result),” Anthony said. “The way that things are going now in this country, the educated, uneducated, the people out there voting, I wasn’t surprised.”

Anthony continued, “Now it’s our responsibility as men and women to take it into our own hands and be role models, and be our own leaders at this point, regardless of who the Commander-In-Chief is. I think we have more of a responsibility now, especially with the youth, and educating them. I’ve talked to [them and] my family. You can just hear the nervousness. They afraid, they don’t know what to think. People don’t know what to do at this point.

“I think it’s up to us as individuals to take that responsibility. Everybody’s gotta lead in their own way. We can’t rely on a system or one person. We’ve got to move on from there.”

Anthony hasn’t discussed the election outcome with James, although he plans to.

“I haven’t talked to anybody,” he said. “I was just sitting there watching that last night. My son fell asleep, and then this morning, having questions, it’s a conversation that we’re all going to have to have with our kids, and… What is that conversation? That’s the scary part for me.”

Whereas Anthony was being more diplomatic in his responses, his beliefs, like many in the sports world, seem to align at least somewhat with the considerably more open comments from Detroit Pistons team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy, following Trump’s win.

“I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said of Trump. “We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking this is where we are as a country… [Trump] isn’t your normal candidate.”

While Anthony believes a Trump presidency will make the causes he is advocating for even more difficult than they already are, he also feels it’s up to himself and other individuals to keep leading the way.

“I’m a big believer in worrying about the things you can control, and I think in this situation, we as people, have to worry about [only that],” Anthony said.

“We can’t control what’s going to happen, but that don’t mean that we have to stop just because somebody’s in a position now that we might not agree with, that we might not like, that we might not want in that position.

“The work has to [continue] right now, and it’s going to be even harder, but we can’t stop working.”


About the Author

Jon Wagner

Jon has been a credentialed writer with New York Sports Day since 2009, primarily covering the New York Knicks and Hofstra men's basketball. He has also occasionally covered other college basketball and New York's pro teams including the Mets, Giants, Jets, Islanders, Rangers and Cosmos (including their three most recent championship seasons). Jon is former Yahoo Sports contributor who previously covered various sports for the Queens Ledger. He's a proud alum of Hofstra University and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (which he attended on a full scholarship). He remains convinced to this day that John Starks would have won the Knicks a championship in 1994 had Hakeem Olajuwon not blocked Starks' shot in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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