by Chet Fiedler
By Day 3, it was no secret Carmelo Anthony was in town. He headed to Palacio de Deportes, a 10,000-seat arena where Malaga’s club team, Unicaja, plays their home games. A press conference had been set with both national and regional press. Carmelo joined David “Nandi” Fernandez, the organizer of the camp; Antonio Jesus Lopez Nieto, director of the arena; and Joaquin Holgado, business manager for Bancaja (the camp’s title sponsor) to answer a few questions.
The Spanish media asked him the usual questions, but some reporter’s thoughts gave Melo some interesting insight. Carmelo first thanked the entire country of Spain, the city of Malaga and all the sponsors and staff who made the camp possible and for giving him the opportunity to host the international camp. “I never got to go to a camp with famous players like this when I was young. And I never thought as a kid, that I’d one day play in the NBA and be able to do something like this for the kids,” he said.
When asked about his coaches he said, “Coach Karl is a great coach and we have grown a lot as a team, but the two coaches that really had the greatest influence on me would be Coach Boeheim and Coach K.”
They asked him if he ever gets to step away from stardom. “Only in the house,” he said, “Outside the house, it’s impossible, but it’s just something you have to get used to.”
Of course they wanted to know what he thought of the Spanish players in the League. “I like Rudy [Fernandez], he is a good player. He has Steve Nash qualities. I really want Ricky Rubio to come into the League—tell him I said that. And Pau [Gasol] is a really smart player who knows the game and can finish with both hands. They all bring something to the League. What used to be a large gap between the talents of U.S. players and international players has since gotten tighter, and the NBA will continue to look for international guys to come play in the States.”
He said his favorite player growing up was Bernard King (Melo was born in Brooklyn and was a huge Knicks fan). And of course, he elaborated about his relationship with Michael Jordan—another one of his heroes growing up—and Muhammad Ali.
As for all of his contributions to charity: “It’s second nature to me, “ he said. “I didn’t have much growing up. So I wake up everyday wanting to give back to someone who needs my help.”
After the press conference he headed back to the Bancaja World of Basket camp where he gave the kids lessons on shooting.