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#pounditSaturday, November 28, 2020

Carmelo Anthony would consider career ‘great’ with three golds, no NBA title

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The lack of NBA playoff success is perhaps the most glaring hole on the resumé of nine-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. But if USA Basketball can take home the gold medal this summer in Rio, none of that will even matter to him.

In an interview with Marc Stein of ESPN on Thursday, Anthony said that he would consider his basketball career “great” if he won three gold medals, even without winning an NBA championship.

“Most athletes don’t have an opportunity to say that they won a gold medal, better yet three gold medals,” Anthony said. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have (and) knowing I played on a high level at every level: High school, college, won (a championship) in college (at Syracuse) and possibly three gold medals.

“I can look back on it when my career is over — if I don’t have an NBA championship ring — and say I had a great career.”

The 32-year-old Anthony is the veteran leader on Team USA at this year’s Rio Games, having already competed in three Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012) and won two gold medals. No male has ever won three in the sport of basketball. With 31 points on Wednesday in a win over Australia, Anthony also become USA Basketball’s all-time leading scorer.

Such triumphs at the international level help ease the sting of Anthony’s failure to capture an NBA title in his 13-season career, having only made it to the Conference Finals one time. Retiring without winning a championship would hurt Anthony’s legacy and almost delegitimize his career in the eyes of fans and pundits who place such a heavy premium on rings (a phenomenon that our founder explained helped push Kevin Durant to the Warriors). But retiring as perhaps the greatest basketball Olympian ever would be more than enough to satisfy Anthony, and that’s all that really counts.

Image Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

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