Carmelo Anthony ‘Steps Up His Game’ With Move to New York
By Heather Brooks
New York was lucky to get Carmelo Anthony as a new member of the New York Knicks and as a bright thread in the fabric of Manhattan, but ‘Melo also owes his new found “game” to the Big City. His move from Denver to the Big Apple has been a good one, but nevertheless full of new challenges on the court, at home, and in business.
I had the opportunity to interview Carmelo Anthony at his photo shoot for his new campaign for Ultra Sheen Men’s Grooming Products Line by Johnson Product Company (“JPC”). Through the promotion of this product, Anthony is telling men all over the world to “Step Up Your Game.” This motto couldn’t be a more perfect fit for the NBA star, because he admits that he, himself, needed to step up his game. And by coming to New York City, he is taking a step in the right direction. Anthony won the 2003 national championship with Syracuse University and was drafted third overall later that year to the Denver Nuggets. Despite immediately putting up impressive numbers, he never was able to fully enter the spotlight in such a small market city; but that all changed when he was traded to the New York Knicks. ‘Melo knows he elevated himself “actually just by coming here, like coming to New York. . . Ya know, performing on the court – stepping my game up. Signing on to be the spokesperson for Johnson Products – step my game up.”
Anthony’s deal with JPC is for the long haul where he has real incentive in the success of the product. It is a testament to the type of business he wants to do in this new stage of his career. Anthony admits that he could have done a short-term endorsement for the Ultra Sheen product, but that afterwards he would have been “free again. [He] wanted something he could say in ten years from now [he] was a part of. [That he] helped build [the Ultra Sheen] brand.” Anthony wants to have a real connection to his business endeavors, which to him, is a sign of stepping his game up.
This mentality applies to what Anthony wants to achieve on the court as well. Aside from the incentive to move back to the east coast where he grew up, ‘Melo wants to create a basketball powerhouse in New York to rival the already successful Big 3 of the Miami Heat in South Beach (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh). Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are the foundation of a potential trio, which the Knicks hope will be completed in the 2012 free agency market (when players with expired contracts can sign with a new franchise).
Even though ‘Melo is close friends with the Heat’s Big 3 and he is trying to duplicate their success, when I asked him if he was rooting for his boys on the Miami Heat to win the 2011 NBA title he gave me a real athlete’s response: “[He] can’t root for anyone [he] competes against.” Spoken like a true NBA basketball player ready for a run for the title in the 2011-12 season where he can lead the Knicks to Stepping Their Game Up.
Despite the new additions to the New York Knicks’ roster, the organization recently announced that the team’s President and General Manager Donnie Walsh is leaving (he will serve the 2011-12 season as a consultant). Walsh played a big part in bringing Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks, which many say was a bad deal as the Knicks paid a steep price to get Anthony. When I asked Anthony how he felt about the change in management he admitted that he “was starting to build a relationship with [Donnie Walsh] from a player to GM stand point” and that “he [was] glad to hear that [Walsh] will still be a part of all that is going on.” But the truth is, the architect that brought ‘Melo (and Amar’e) to New York is now on his way out. So, I can’t help but ask: even if ‘Melo steps his game up, are the Knicks as an organization going to have what it takes to bring championships back to New York?
The jury is still out as Anthony continues to pave his way – on and off the court. The move for Anthony from Denver to NYC has been a big one full of fortuitous and unforeseen professional and social advancements. But one thing is clear and expected: as ‘Melo sends the Ultra Sheen message of “Step Your Game Up” out to fans, he will also be taking the slogan to heart.
This article was written by one of our contibuting writing, Heather Brooks of Sportsgirl. Sportsgirl is a concept designed to attract women to sports by relating sports headlines to current topics in entertainment, fashion, gossip, and politics. It is perfect for someone looking for a fun tidbit to use in a business meeting, with his or her kids, or even on a hot date! You can find Heather’s blog at ilovesportsgirl.com – Just Enough Sports to Make you Dangerous.
All photography was contributed by Twah Dougherty at www.styleartlife.com – The Art of Styling Life Through Photographs.