Ninety-six hours didn’t pass between Carmelo’s first and second day in Spain. We’re not happy to admit that’s how long it took to post Day 2, but with the holidays and some tech issues, time can really fly. Thankfully Chet Fiedler hasn’t stopped recording the news from overseas. We’ll post Chet’s photos and essays every 24 hours this week. Take a quick refresher if you need it, and read on with Day 2 of Carmelo’s tip to Spain.–Ed.
by Chet Fiedler
Carmelo spent the second day in Spain at camp. Kids from all over Spain and Europe traveled South to the City of Malaga for the Bancaja W.O.B. Camp that Carmelo is hosting—his first ever overseas camp. Although soccer is the No. 1 sport, basketball is a strong second and most people in the city of Malaga are familiar with Carmelo, especially since the streets are lined with banners celebrating his arrival and stay during the weeklong camp.
In fact, the kids at the camp were so excited for Carmelo, his security was swarmed before Carmelo even arrived.
The organizers had the kids sit around the three-point line to await his arrival. The excitement just kept building as their chatter got louder and louder. The fences surrounding the camp’s courts began to fill with people from the neighborhood who heard Carmelo would be arriving that day and were hoping to catch a glimpse of him. For the kids at the camp and the people of Malaga, an NBA star is an extremely rare celebrity.
As Carmelo arrived, the kids began to go crazy, chanting “Melo…Melo…” Carmelo entered the court and gave fives all around. Kids then had the opportunity to ask him questions.
Everyone’s questions were fairly simple such as, “Do you like Malaga?” “Si, si, si, “ Carmelo answered in Spanish to their delight. “Who’s the best player you ever played against?,” they asked. “Kobe,” said Melo, as the kids cheered and applauded nearly every answer he gave.
After the questions, Carmelo made his way around the camp playing a few minutes with every team.
Carmelo would take a pass, and dunk (at their request), causing cheers to explode from both teams and benches on the court. “The kids were all so happy, not a single one wasn’t smiling,” said Carmelo at the end of the day. I noticed Carmelo himself had a pretty big smile all day, especially when dunking on an eight foot hoop while he scrimmaged with the 6-year-olds.
The older kids did their best to impress him. Dribbling between their legs or behind their backs at every opportunity. In one instance, a teenager took advantage of Carmelo’s casual play and put it through his legs on the way to the basket. Quickly he became the hero of the day to all his friends. Carmelo just shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Carmelo played in the hot sun, pausing only for a few minutes to give a live interview to the local TV station.
That night he met up with Jacinto Castillo (the NBA scout, who we now realize is one of the most important basketball figures in Spain) for dinner at El Chinitas. Over dinner Carmelo was introduced to different wines from the region, its subtle differences and food pairings—and giving Carmelo a chance to indulge in his favorite food—seafood. At the end of dinner, Carmelo was asked to sign a special book the restaurant kept with signatures and notes from famous guests such as Nobel Prize of Medicine winner Severo Ochoa, and Lewis Hamilton, the youngest ever Formula One champion.
Carmelo wrote a nice note, along with his signature and the words Melo “Machine Gun,” in reference to a nickname just given to him the day before by a local.