The NBA’s Media Day on Monday was always going to be concerned with Donald Trump’s comments over the weekend, and so it wasn’t surprising that LeBron James and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich both took shots at 45 during the league’s first day back in action. However, Carmelo Anthony had a different approach, one that aligns with his history of charity work and activism: he asked for help for Puerto Rico.
The newest member of the Oklahoma City Thunder used his introductory press conference with his new team not only for the usual jokes and “I’m excited to be here” comments. Instead, the Brooklyn-born, half-Puerto Rican superstar used his platform to beg for help for the island as it attempts to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“People are afraid. People don’t know what’s going on, and there’s so much going on they don’t know how to feel. I think all we’re looking for is some kind of security blanket that. That at the end of the day, you have our back. And you’re showing that you don’t,” said Melo, speaking at Trump.
He continued, saying that he’s “committed to my island, to help everything. I’m talking to the government officials down there. I’m talking to all these organizations, just trying to figure everything out. I don’t want to just do something just to do it. I want it to be meaningful. I want the people to feel impacted by what I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to create.” To that end, he started a fundraising campaign that has already collected over $230,000 for Hurricane Maria relief.
As Puerto Rico is in desperate need of relief–aid that might not not kick in until weeks from now–Melo has stepped up to help his ancestral homeland. Whereas Trump is still hopping on Twitter to blast the NFL or to throw blame at Puerto Rico for the current crisis, the most visible Latino NBA player is getting to work in helping to fix things for Puerto Ricans.