Nothing is going to stop Carmelo Anthony — who recently accepted an invitation to join Team USA in Rio for his record-breaking fourth Olympic appearance — on his quest to become the most decorated men’s athlete in USA Basketball history. Not even the uncertain threat of the Zika virus.
But that’s not to say that fears of the virus didn’t raise a particularly red flag in his decision-making process.
“We can try to downplay the Zika thing as much as we want, but it is what it is,” Anthony said at Monday’s USA Basketball media conference. “I don’t think anybody really has the answers to how to control that, but all of those things came into play.”
Anthony said that he sat down with his family and consulted with doctors before ultimately deciding to chase a third gold medal.
“I talked to numerous doctors and people that were already over there,” he continued. “I talked to people that are actually from Brazil, and I had to really put in perspective from a basketball standpoint is this something that I really want to do going back for Olympics, having an opportunity to win my third gold medal, so all of those came into play.”
At 32-years-old, this may be his final opportunity to throw on the Stars and Stripes, and — in the end — the nine-time All-Star stressed the importance of one thing: Winning basketball games. Something that, as he prepares for his seventh season with the struggling New York Knicks, is a bit of a distant memory.
“As competitors you want to get that edge back,” he said. “You know, I want to feel what that’s like. I want to be back out there. I want to be playing at a high level. I want to be playing with guys that I know are playing at a high level. I want to win. So it was almost kind of a selfish thing for me to want to go over there and kind of put everything at risk.”
Anthony, who won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 2004 Olympics and gold medals in 2008 and 2012, ranks in the top-five in all-time Olympic games played, points, rebounds, field goals and three-pointers. Along with Kevin Durant, he’s the only player on this year’s roster with a gold medal.
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