After the United States had finished dismantling Serbia in the gold medal game, a very emotional Carmelo Anthony announced in a post-game interview that the Rio Olympics were his last:
“I know this is the end. This is it for me. This is it for me. I committed to something… I committed to this in ’04. I’ve seen the worst, and I’ve seen the best, and I’ve stuck with it–we’ve stuck with it–and I’m here today, three gold medals later. I’m excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this.”
Anthony has appeared in every Olympic games since 2004, and with the 96-66 win over Serbia on Sunday, he became the first men’s basketball player for the United States to win three gold medals. Although he announced his retirement from the international game, what are the odds that we see him in Tokyo for the 2020 games?
In this instance, I believe that Melo is done with Olympic play.
Even though some athletes have a hard time staying away from the game, I’m not sure Melo is going to be physically able to compete in four years, and that he’ll want to sustain his NBA career as long as possible.
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Over the last five seasons, Melo’s health has steadily declined. His knees are deteriorating, and he’s missed 99 games over that span, including 42 in 2014-15. When he does play, the Knicks require so much of him and Anthony’s hovered around 36 minutes per game over the last couple of seasons.
Surely that’ll change in the upcoming year thanks to all the additions made by New York, but he’s still a huge key to their offense; it’s also possible that they make the playoffs, and all those minutes add up–it seems like the strain multiples when you have a player who’s aging and falling out of their prime.
Even if he did want to come back, Team USA might not want to add him with all the talent they have. A myriad of stupendous players–James Harden, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook–elected to forgo the Olympics, and all those guys will be more impressive than Melo in the coming seasons.
Furthermore, think about where all the players who were on the USA Select Team will be in four years and how they’ll challenge household names for spots on the Tokyo squad.
Nevertheless, what Carmelo Anthony has accomplished with the National Team is spectacular and it’s impossible to overlook the success he’s had in international competition. Whether he elects to compete in 2020 or not, his name is up there as one of the best Olympic basketball players of all time.
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