Carmelo Anthony on His Background and Paying It Forward
Culture The New York Knicks forward’s Hispanic heritage taught him the importance of community, and now he’s giving back to the neighborhoods he grew up in.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony grew up in both Brooklyn and Baltimore’s housing projects, but he found power in his Latino heritage. “I am a human being first,” Anthony says, “So I [speak] up based on how I feel and what I see. Not as someone who holds a certain position.” He added that it was important to share his heritage with the public because “I realized I had a platform as an athlete that allowed for my voice to be amplified. Often times, we just want people to see us as who we are, person to person...not everyone has this opportunity and I wanted to use it for good.”
Anthony aims to uplift underprivileged kids in his home neighborhoods by building and refurbishing basketball courts. The Carmelo Anthony Foundation has also helped reopen the Youth Development Center envisioned by the Classrooms Foundation and the Housing Authority of Baltimore. His foundation helps underserved communities by pushing higher education—an important facet in Latino communities. Anthony remembers living in a place with few resources.
“This message is for our youth,” Anthony says. “For people that have felt that the cards are stacked against them. We can become more than what people or society says we can be.” Anthony relied on people like his mother, his friends, and even his community to encourage him and to remind him of who he was in times when life felt hopeless. “[They told me] that I mattered in this world and I had all that I needed in me to achieve whatever I set my mind to achieve.”
“My foundation is all about encouraging people in underserved communities to become more than what their socioeconomic state may dictate,” Anthony explains. Through education, recreation and giveback programs, Anthony continues to push with a drive to create what he wants to create, and youth everywhere can do the same. “No one is exempt from challenges. It’s more so about how you respond to the challenges life hands you.” Anthony has made it his goal to provide young people with the resources they need to best respond to those challenges.