New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony Is The Face Of Team USA

Jul 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) and center DeMarcus Cousins (12) during practice at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; USA forward Carmelo Anthony (15) and center DeMarcus Cousins (12) during practice at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Though he may be too humble to admit it, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is the face of Team USA basketball.

Every fan and member of the New York Knicks has a vested interest in the success of Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The veteran leader of that relatively inexperienced unit just so happen to be the face of the Knicks.

Carmelo Anthony is a single run away from also being the face of Team USA—a conversation he’s too humble to embrace.

Anthony is in the process of pursuing his third Olympic gold medal. No male basketball player from any country has won three Olympic gold medals before, which is reason enough to believe that Anthony is the face of the Team USA program.

According to Nick Friedell of ESPN, Anthony isn’t entirely comfortable with that talk or pressure.

"“I try not to think like that,” Anthony said of being the face of the Olympic men’s basketball team. “I think I’m a big part of USA Basketball, but as far as being the face, that’s a lot of pressure.”"

That pressure is something he’ll need to learn to embrace and thrive off of.

This is the single most important summer of Anthony’s career thus far. If he manages to face the pressure, use it as motivation, and lead Team USA to the Olympic gold medal, he’ll achieve far more than international history.

By embracing a leadership role and accepting his responsibility as the face of the program, Anthony would ready himself for the biggest season of his NBA career.

Team president Phil Jackson has rebuilt the Knicks in a strong enough manner to give Anthony a chance to return to the playoffs. New York may still be missing something, but it has a postseason-caliber roster.

Having missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, Anthony cannot allow the Knicks to make it four in a row.

If Anthony proves to himself that he can handle the pressure of leading Team USA, then he should be able to do the same with the Knicks. Though little is comparable to the pressure of attempting to end a 43-year title drought in New York City, representing one’s country is the exception.

Anthony still hasn’t processed how incredible an achievement a third gold medal would be.

"“It really hasn’t sunk in yet about the fact that I’m playing in four Olympics and have an opportunity to win three gold medals,” Anthony said before the U.S. men’s basketball team’s practice on Thursday. “I think about it, but I haven’t really sat down and put everything into perspective. A lot of times when you’re going through these situations, you tend to not put so much focus on the whole process and the journey until after the fact.”"

Let’s cut away the modesty: to be the most accomplished male basketball player in Olympic history is a ticket to a first ballot Hall of Fame induction.

As Anthony attempts to save New York from the gutters of basketball history, this experience should help him mentally. He’ll hone his leadership skills and become more comfortable in high-pressure situations.

Anthony certainly has a history of playing better following an Olympic gold medal, and this should be no exception.

must read: Good things happen in the NBA when Carmelo Anthony plays for Team USA

Good luck in Rio, ‘Melo. Knicks Nation will be watching.