NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony is set to play an important role for the Portland Trail Blazers in the season restart. That isn’t stopping him, though, from focusing on much bigger issues as the country grapples with social justice issues. In a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Anthony discussed his “gloves off” approach to discussing social change:
What have you done to use your platform for social justice in the last couple months that really means a lot to you?
My thing is just to make sure people feel comfortable with speaking on s— that they’re uncomfortable with and holding people accountable for not having those conversations, for not wanting to have those conversations. …
For me, I’m taking the gloves off. Whatever you want to talk about, let’s talk about it. That’s where I was at, which kind of translated to what I’m doing with my platform, having these conversations with people and bringing awareness to certain situations. Also, educating people. We haven’t been educated [on issues], and now we’re starting to want to be educated.
The 10-time All-Star also explained how he overcame his reservations about the NBA’s bubble:
With the pandemic and racial issues in America right now, what is your view of being in the NBA bubble right now?
At first it was just like, ‘Man, I need some guaranteed answers.’ I had the same concern that everybody had. But then, once it started becoming just about basketball, like, ‘All right, cool. Let’s figure this out.’ But if we all don’t want to play, then let’s all not play. We are all going to play, then let’s play. Let’s not be in that gray area.
Once I got past that, it was just all basketball for me because I knew where I was. I knew where I was at physically, mentally. … And I knew what we were going to be in terms of Portland from a basketball standpoint. I was just like, ‘S—, let’s go.’
And Anthony highlighted Portland’s mindset as they approach bubble play:
How much noise can the Blazers make in the playoff race?
We know the work that we are putting in. I’m sure everybody putting in the same work, but we got a different mindset because we are in a no-win situation. It’s like, nobody thinks we can do it.