Nuggets Introduce Carmelo, Jerseys

DENVER, June 29, 2003 -- Nuggets General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe introduced the Nuggets' top draft pick, Carmelo Anthony, along with the new Nuggets jerseys today at a press conference held at the Pepsi Center. The transcript is below.

KIKI: “Well this is a very exciting day for the Nuggets and for all of Denver. My congratulations to all of the Nugget fans all over Denver. It’s been a long time since we’ve had this much excitement in Denver for a new player, for a new draft pick. It harkens back to the time of David Thompson when we had a player of this caliber. Somebody who was an NCAA Champion, an NCAA MVP, has won at every single level he’s ever been on and especially at home. We are very happy to welcome all of the Anthony family. Mary, Carmelo’s mother, and Mr. Bill Duffy, Carmelo’s agent are with us today."

“Now as all of you know, we are going to unveil or new uniform today. But first, just to do something a little different and special. I’d like to introduce Ms. Anthony. Miss Mary will you please come on up. We have a special jersey here, No. 15, that we would like to present to the newest member of the Nuggets. (laughter) Welcome to Denver. This is now the most important Nugget. (presents Mary Anthony with Nuggets No. 15 jersey that reads Mary Anthony across back)."

"Right now, before we turn it over to Carmelo, we are going to unveil our new uniform. It looks pretty good on him I think. There it is. I notice it has No. 15 on it so I hope Chris Andersenwill be okay here. This is what it looks like with the new logo."

"And without further ado, let me introduce the newest Nugget, Mr. Carmelo Anthony.”

Carmelo, can you tell us what the last 24 hours have been like for you?
ANTHONY: "Well yesterday was kind of a long day. I woke up about 6:15 (a.m.), did a lot of things and I still ain’t been asleep yet. Hopefully after this I can get a couple days off and just go to sleep."

Did you find yourself pinching yourself as everything took place?
ANTHONY:"Well now that it’s over I’ve kind of got some relief. I’m trying to just relax right now."

There hasn’t been a superstar in Denver for quite a while, All-Stars have been pretty rare. Do you look forward to the challenge of stepping in to that role?
ANTHONY: “I can’t rush that role. I’ve got to take my time and just walk my way through. I can’t run to it right away.”

With all of this talk and all of this hype, how much do you look forward to just playing some basketball?
ANTHONY: “I wish I could start playing tomorrow. Or right now. If they would let me in a uniform right now then I wouldn’t have any problems with it.”
KIKI: “You say that you haven’t had any sleep? (joking) How about you go play me in H-O-R-S-E now. That’s the only chance I have.”

Carmelo, are you worried about the expectations that may surround coming into a franchise that has struggled and hasn’t made the playoffs in almost a decade?
ANTHONY: “No. I’m not worried about anything right now. Just coming in and just playing the win I’ve been playing. And hopefully some things will change.”

Being that you were able to overcome great pressure in college and succeeded, how does that help you going into your rookie season?
ANTHONY: "What some people don’t realize, they try to come to the NBA and they try to rush everything. That’s when they hit that rookie wall. Coming in as a young player like me, you’ve just got to come in and take your time and not try to force anything.”

What are you going to buy your mom? Got anything in mind?
ANTHONY: "I don’t know. Whatever she wants".”

Carmelo, I see you’ve got your No. 15 jersey. Chris Andersen (No. 15 last year) was saying last year he wants to charge you $15,000 for the number. Is that a sellable price?
ANTHONY: “I’m going to have to talk to him about all that.”

What is the thing you are most concerned about, both on and off the court?
ANTHONY: “On the court I ain’t really concerned about anything. Off the court I ain’t really concernec about anything. So basically, I ain’t really concerned about anything.”

When you were hear before you mentioned that you hoped that you coming here would help recruit free agents to Denver. A story came out last night the Jason Kidd has Denver on his list of four teams. Can you attribute that to yourself?
ANTHONY: “I wish I could play with Jason Kidd. I would love Jason Kidd here. But it all depends on him. I can’t do anything about that.”

You rode back to Denver on the owner (Mr. Kroenke)’s private jet. What did you think? Was that your first time on a plane like that?
ANTHONY: “No, I actually went to Nike on their private jet. But I was asleep the whole way so it was a smooth ride I guess.”

What do you know about Denver before the talk started about you coming here?
ANTHONY: “Nothing. I’d just seen a little bit of their games late night last year.”

How much did you learn about the team and players since the speculation started?
ANTHONY: “Oh I studied the roster and looked at it. From what I’m hearing though, the roster ain’t going to be the same this year. There’s going to be a lot of changes. So I’m looking forward to that.”

Who are you most looking forward to playing this year?
ANTHONY: “Anybody. Everybody. Everybody that will push me to make me better.”

Growing up in Baltimore and going to school up in New York, how much have you thought about coming this far West and being a long way from everybody. I’m sure some family will come with you, but how hard will it be to adapt?”
ANTHONY:Yeah. I’ve had to adjust to all my environments. From going to Baltimore to Oak Hill. That was a terror right there. And then going and adjusting to Syracuse. And then I’m having to adjust to here, but I’ve got some experience with it.”

How different will it be this time around since you’re not in school?”
ANTHONY: “No, no this is a business. This is my job right here. I think it’s going to be tough but I’m going to get through it.”

What do you think will be the toughest adjustment?
ANTHONY: “Just adjusting to the NBA level.
I mean as far as Denver and the city?
ANYHONY: “Oh. Just realizing…everybody tells me it’s a slow city. I’ve got to adjust to that. I ain’t used to that right now.”

How old were you when you started playing basketball?
ANTHONY: “Like seven. Six or seven.”

Are you planning on spending anytime this summer in the offseason working with the Nuggets staff to get you ready for your rookie year?
ANTHONY:”Yeah, I’ll be back in like a week just to get a head start and to try to get used to this altitude. Then I think I’m going to play in the summer league.”

Kiki said when he drafted you that character played an important role in his selection. I know you are planning on visiting sick kids over at Children’s Hospital this weekend. How important is it for you to get involved and give back to the community?
ANTHONY: “Giving back is real important. Right now I’m trying to give back to the community I’m in (Baltimore) now and trying to get a rec center going. If I can do anything in this community to help out then I’ve got no problem with it.”

Carmelo, who do you know on the Nuggets now? Which players?
ANTHONY:Nene, Rodney White, (Vincent) Yarbrough. A couple of the young guys.”

Do you know Juwan Howardat all?
ANTHONY:” I’ve met him a couple times but haven’t really sat down and talked to him.”
Would you like to see him come back?
ANTHONY: “Yeah, I would love to see him come back. But I know that’s in doubt.”

What do you think about the new uniforms?
ANTHONY: “They’re UCLA colors (laughter) but they’re all right. They’ll do.”
KIKI: (joking) “Aw come on. That’s Rocky Mountain Blue.”
ANTHONY: (joking) “They’ll do I guess.”