Jul 10 2012 12:30PM

Offseason Chat: Carmelo Anthony

Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony is spending part of his summer training and then representing USA in its quest for another gold medal in the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London. He's also one of the top names behind the Got Chocolate Milk? campaign. Carmelo recently too some time off between his two summer jobs to talk to us.

HOOP: Talk about your Chocolate Milk campaign. Can you tell me exactly--after a workout or after a practice--how much chocolate milk you drink and exactly why?

CARMELO ANTHONY: "One bottle is good enough. One cup is good enough. Just being able to put back the right carbs that belong into your body, the right protein that belongs into your body. Working out, sweating--you lose a lot of electrolytes. So being able to put that back into your body, that's very important."

HOOP: "What does it do, as opposed to water or Gatorade or some other drink that other people drink? Why do you prefer chocolate milk?


CARMELO: Water is water. Gatorade is Gatorade. Chocolate milk is chocolate milk. To be able to drink chocolate milk and still have all the right nutrients put into chocolate milk, it makes it that much better.

HOOP: Is this a big thing going on in the NBA? Are other fellow athletes doing it as well?

CARMELO: Yeah, other fellow athletes are doing it. That's why I'm sitting here, trying to spread the word and get the message out there, so we can get more athletes to do it.

HOOP: Great. Jumping to USA Basketball, you had some disappointments when you guys won the bronze in the 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Games. And then in the 2008 Olympics, you guys just dominated the world. Can you tell me what the biggest difference between the 2008 team and the 2004/2006 squads?

CARMELO: Well, I think just the great job that Jerry Colangelo did, incorporating the infrastructure here when it comes to USA Basketball. Having guys commit for a couple years. Having guys locking in and focus in on one goal, which is the gold medal. We all did that. We came together as one. And like you said, we dominated everything.

HOOP: How did you feel as a person afterwards. Was that better than winning the national championship at college or was it the same?

CARMELO: No, it was actually different than winning in college. That was my first year at Syrcause when we won the national title. That was for Syracuse University and all the fans of Syracuse University. Winning a gold medal is for a whole country. It's not just for you. The gold medal is for all the athletes out there trying to fight for their country too. It's a different feeling.

HOOP: How about if you were to win an NBA championship ring? How do you think that would compare to the gold medal?

CARMELO: It would still be a different feeling. Winning an NBA championship--I don't know what that feels like. One day, hopefully, I can get a chance to experience that. I'm pretty sure just by looking at it and seeing it, it has to be a different feeling.

HOOP: Carmelo, I want to get your opinion and I want to tell you my opinion. In the 2008-09 season, I thought that was your best season. Your plus-minus numbers were the best they ever have been. It was right when you came off the Olympics. You led the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals, along with Chauncey Billups and Nene. Did you think that was your best season, and if so, do you think the Olympics played a role in that?

CARMELO: Well, I think just having that experience definitely played a role in me taking it back to my respective team, which was the Denver Nuggets at that time. So now, I try to take the same experience I'm going to have now and going through right now, back to my team, which is the New York Knicks. Hopefully we can get back this time to the Eastern Conference Finals. Just get better. That's my only thing. Just getting better and taking it one day at a time.

HOOP: Did you feel that was your best season?

CARMELO: Yeah, I felt like, absolutely. Just all-around, I felt like that was one of my best seasons.

HOOP: You said stuff you took back to your team. Can you remember any anecdotes or anything specific that you took back to that team in the 2008-09 season?

CARMELO: As a team, I took that perspective that we had, took that back to my team. Got everybody on the same page. And just led us to where we needed to be at that point in time.

HOOP: When you get back to the Knicks this Fall, you're going to have an Olympic point guard, with Jason Kidd, who has a gold medal. Yourself--you have a gold medal. And hopefully Tyson Chandler comes back with a gold medal. What would it be like to have three Knicks with gold medals playing on the same team?

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CARMELO: When we play for the gold medal, we're playing for all of the USA. And when we get back to the New York Knicks, we all know what it's like to play for all of New York. So we just have to take our Olympics experiences and just get on the same page as a team. I feel it's going to be a very good year for us with all the talent and experience we have.

HOOP: When you talk about what's going on with USA Basketball, I know your goal is to win the gold medal. But what else are you hoping to accomplish out there?

CARMELO: I just want to get better with my game. I want to make everybody else better with their game. Competing with them. Just having fun. Just enjoying this time and enjoying this experience.

HOOP: What's it like, the fourth time putting on the USA Basketball jersey--2004, 2006, 2008, 2012. It's like your other team right now?

CARMELO: "Yeah, absolutely. I've been a part of USA Basketball since I was in high school. I played on the 17-and-under team. And then in the '04 Olympics, '08 and then now. I still have the same feeling, the same excitement that I had the first time that I put it on."

HOOP: The last question I want to ask you--there's rumors this might be the last opportunity for players older than 23 to play on USA Basketball in the Olympics. Since this has been a part of your life--your whole life--what does it feel like knowing this might be the last time you put on a USA Basketball jersey?

CARMELO: It just makes this experience that much more better. That's the motivation to know that this might be our last time at it. We want to go out with a bang.