Long regarded as the most versatile scorer in the game, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has scored more points than any other Latino in NBA history. Heading into his matchup with LeBron James on Wednesday, Anthony had already reached the 21,000-point plateau, and is projected to pass NBA icon Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list later this season.
“I’m not out there like, ‘I gotta get 25,000 points,’” Anthony told assembled media at a shootaround in Cleveland. “Sometimes you don’t even know until [you’re] that close to reaching a mark or somebody will probably remind you. There comes a time when somebody – maybe on your team, or somebody texts you – and says ‘Yo, you got a chance to do that’ and reach that. That’s where the adrenaline comes in.”
Named after his Puerto Rican father, Carmelo has strong ties to the island. The Puerto Rican flag is tatted on his shooting hand so each bucket is essentially a salute to his dad, who passed away from cancer when Anthony was two years old.
Prior to training camp with the Knicks, Anthony invited his teammates to Puerto Rico for a mini camp of his own. With family in Bayamón, Mayaguez, and Ponce, the trip was a homecoming of sorts for Anthony, who recently purchased a professional soccer team. His Puerto Rico Football Club will play next year in the Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón.
After rehabbing from last season’s knee surgery, Anthony is still finding his shooting stroke, which appears to be slightly affected by his recovering lift. The Knicks were unable to overcome a poor shooting night from Anthony against the Cavaliers, dropping their record to 2-3 in the young campaign.
“It’s not really frustrating,” said Anthony referring to his wonky rhythm. “I know it’ll come back. Those shots that I’m taking are shots that I normally make so I’m not really too concerned about that. Yeah, I do want them to go in, but I wouldn’t say it’s getting frustrating.”
The Knicks return to Madison Square Garden tonight to face the Milwaukee Bucks, whose roster includes Greivis Vasquez, the league’s only Venezuelan player. Having already cut down the Nets in Brooklyn, the Bucks are hoping to take another bite out of the Big Apple in what could be a trap game for the Knicks. Despite the key additions of big man Robin Lopez and rookie Kristaps Porzingis, consistency remains a challenge for the Knicks.
“I don’t want to learn from losing games,” said Anthony in Cleveland. “I want to learn from winning games. Throughout this process, I think we have the unit and the guys that we can do that. Of course you learn from losses, but I don’t want to make that a consistent thing and keep having to learn from my own losses. Truthfully, I don’t think that will be the case. It’s still early, five games to the season, but some things we have to get better at.”