Carmelo Anthony will return to Puerto Rico this offseason. Credit: Getty Images
As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.
He’ll organize fundraisers and raise awareness on the island. Before leaving for Puerto Rico, the New York Knicks small forward spoke to Metro about his Puerto Rican heritage, the national team and his goals on the island.
What’s the importance of giving back to the island, especially being of Puerto Rican descent?
It’s very important. I want to touch the island and see the faces of this country. I carry the flag, represent the culture and it’s in my blood. Part of me wants to raise awareness in Puerto Rico and help in any way possible.
What excites you the most about the pending projects you have there?
I love meeting people and knowing their stories. I want to interact with the fans and give faith and hope. My intention is to build courts and find ways to keep kids off the streets.
What does it mean to be a role model for the youth?
It’s vital that they see more of me and of the things I can do. I want to do everything I can to impact and make a difference.
Do you know about Puerto Rico’s basketball league?
Yes, I do know about their league. I know plenty of guys that played there and want to play there. If there’s any way I can help that league and bring people to the court, I’m all for it. All I hear is good news about the Puerto Rican league.
You’ve played against the Puerto Rican national team before. What can you say about the way they play?
It’s a little hard for me when we play them, because I have so many connections on the island and sometimes I feel a part of what they have. I had the opportunity to practice with the national team in Ponce when I was younger. I don’t know what happened there and I eventually played for USA. They run the court hard and they play very physical. These guys put a lot of effort and play with the attributes that describe us as Puerto Ricans.
What is your ultimate goal with your efforts in Puerto Rico?
I want to make a change and a difference in Puerto Rico. Other than building courts, I also want to construct recreational centers for summer and after school.