On this week’s live Twitter episode of ‘NBA Together with Ernie Johnson’ Trail Blazers veteran and Future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony joined the show.
EJ and Melo started off the conversation discussing how the 10x All-Star feels about resuming the 2019-20 season next month in Orlando and how the Trail Blazers as a group believe they could make some noise in Orlando.
But does the 17-year NBA veteran have any hesitations about playing in the bubble environment in Orlando?
As far as from a physical standpoint, yes, I’m ready. I’ve been in the gym because we understand the minute that the horn goes off we have to be ready as a team. Portland, specifically. We’re kind of approaching this a lot differently than a lot of other teams. I know the focus that we have. I know how locked in we are right now and understanding what’s ahead of us, but that also makes it exciting for me and for our team because this is all new to everybody. This will be new to everybody, new environment, new situations, new circumstances, new opportunities, guys coming back healthy, so having a full team healthy that's a big point for us. -- Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony on ‘NBA Together’
Even with Anthony’s excitement to get Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins back and completely healthy to restart the season, Melo still has some reservations on resuming play.
“As far as actually playing and going back down to Orlando, I’m still up in the air a little bit because I really don’t, we don’t have all the details, we don’t know a lot of information. So until we have that it’s kind of hard to just commit to it 100 percent.”
Last week, the NBA Board of Governors’ voted on a 22-team resumption of play that passed with a 29-1 vote. The Portland Trail Blazers were the only ones to vote no. CJ McCollum, who is the Trail Blazers team representative, applauded the front office and Jody Allen for listening to the players and their feedback ahead of the vote.
And now that the NBPA has approved the 22-team format, details are still getting ironed out.
Melo and the Blazers do believe, though, that they can move up to the eighth and final playoff spot out West and maybe go further in the postseason than most expect.
“We understand the situation and the uphill battle that we are in. I think that’s why we have the commitment that we have from our team right now and the focus that we have... From a competitive standpoint, if we go in and do what we have to do, just lock in for this short period of time, that we have an opportunity to create something, to do something special.”
After talking hoops for the first four minutes of the ‘NBA Together’ interview, the focus shifted to what’s going on in our country right now.
Melo described what he has witnessed with the Black Lives Matter protests over the past few weeks.
“It’s years and years of discomfort. It’s years and years of angry, of pinned up frustration. It’s just an accumulation of what’s been happening. Not over the past 10 years or 20 years, but for the past 400 years that we’ve been dealing with this stuff and we’re actually starting to see the cycle return.”
The Future Hall of Famer also shared this message to his NBA brotherhood who have been participating in marches and protest around the county:
I love to see the guys out there on the frontline and doing it in a respectable way, but also, those guys having the opportunity to have their voices be heard and be seen on the frontline with the people, connect with the community… I say continue doing what we’re doing, continue letting our voices be heard, continue being out there, continue fighting for what we believe in and what we stand on. The protesters and the marchers – they’re all great, but now it's time to put that into a plan of motion and to execute. Let’s go attack some of the laws, the local laws, and let’s go attack it from that standpoint – the educational system. Let’s attack it from the ground up. -- Carmelo Anthony
Melo also gave NBA Commissioner Adam Silver a lot of credit for giving NBA players a “great platform to use their voice.”
While growing up in New York and Baltimore, Melo explained what it was like for him at such a young age walking through what he calls “the pharmacy” with so many drugs in his Baltimore neighborhood.
“I walk into 'the pharmacy' at eight, nine years old. Every day you walk outside it was drugs, it was prostitution, it was killings, it was fights. You had neighborhood fights and these are things that I had to get up and almost embrace because I had no other choice but to embrace that world and become a product of my environment. Walking through all of those things to get to school, making sure friends was safe, making sure family was good, and I’m talking about 10, 11 years old, having to be a young adult at that age, that’s a lot of pressure, a lot of stress, but I always say – Growing up in those type of environments it teaches you how to survive, but it doesn’t teach you how to live and that’s something that will stick with me for the rest of my life."
Listen to the entire ‘NBA Together’ episode with Carmelo Anthony right here.