New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony Is Growing Into A Leader

Jul 21, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) speaks to media before practice at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 21, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) speaks to media before practice at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has stepped up to become a leader off the court. That should carry into the upcoming NBA season.

It’s the worst time of the year as an NBA fan. The season is over, the draft has passed, and most of the notable free agency moves have been made.

Even training camp and the preseason are a long time off. That makes it hard to find much to talk about or get excited for regarding the NBA at this time.

If you’ve been paying attention to the social issues in this country, however, I’m sure you’ve seen Carmelo Anthony‘s name in the news quite often lately.

Anthony was one of the first athletes to speak out after the tragic events surrounding the police shootings of two African-American men, releasing a long post on social media.

He, alongside LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade, kicked off the 2016 ESPY awards by sending a clear and well-spoken message that these types of incidents need to be stopped.

He’s been very vocal while representing the United States on the Olympic team and has continued to speak on the matter both publicly and privately. He recently held a forum in Los Angeles to try to further shed light on this issue.

He certainly has come a long way from appearing in a highly criticized “Stop Snitchin” drug video back in his Denver days.

First of all, this needs to be commended on a social level. He doesn’t have to be doing any of this; nobody is pushing him and he’s not merely following a trend of other NBA players.

We’re in a time where many athletes are afraid to speak out. There’s so much criticism to be had, not to mention potential loss of sponsorship, public opinion, and so forth. The safe bet is to just stay in your lane and keep your opinions to yourself.

Anthony needs to be respected for taking those risks and voicing his opinions so loudly to become a representing force in the NBA.

There’s only so much he can do. He’s not a politician, a police chief or anyone in a position to impact the situation directly. But as an athlete, he’s doing all he can.

He’s a superstar and his voice carries a lot of clout. It’s good to see him using it to try to make a positive impact on society. He’s doing what he can within his own community, which is something more people need to do as opposed to merely criticizing whichever side of the debate they don’t agree with.

This is a welcomed change for Anthony.

Aside from the criticisms of him being a ball hog and never winning a ring, one of the biggest knocks on him is that he just wasn’t a good leader. He isn’t the type of guy to be the main guy on a championship-level team.

He’s not as vocal or outspoken as others, and this often was misinterpreted as him having no leadership skills.

This past year really showed a lot to change many of these misconceptions. He has been integral in the mentoring and development of Kristaps Porzingis. His scoring was down last year, but that was due to a concerted effort to become a better team player and get his teammates involved more.

He was heavily involved in the offseason recruitment of free agents and has already practiced and communicated with many of his new teammates.

He’s the oldest and most experienced playing leading Team USA this summer. Now he’s stepping up to lead an important cause off the court.

This can only help what he’s doing on the court. This newly found leadership should pay massive dividends with the addition of a new head coach and—finally—some talent to support him.

I expect Anthony to have a career season and finally become the guy so many people have criticized him for not being.

must read: Examples of Carmelo Anthony becoming a leader

There isn’t much to get excited about right now, but Carmelo Anthony is definitely doing some things that should help the city of New York both on and off the court.