How chance encounter with Muhammad Ali inspired Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony
Muhammad Ali’s reach into other lives is still being discovered even after his death. Portland Trail Blazers veteran forward Carmelo Anthony has declined in the past couple of years; this has been well-documented.
For some, it is easy to forget how the 10-time All-Star, now with the Blazers, was once one of the biggest names in the entire league. Even the best of them, however, still get starstruck — especially when you go face-to-face with the greatest.
Recently, Anthony went on the “What’s in Your Glass” YouTube series with actor Anthony Anderson. The 35-year-old Blazers forward shared the time he met boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and how the former heavyweight king inspired him from that day forward.
“Back in 2003-2004, the video game Fight Night came out and Ali was gracing the cover,” Anthony started. “At the time, they had all the cover athletes in one area. So it was me, Muhammad Ali from boxing, Marshall Faulk for football, Larry Fitzgerald for college football… it was just a room for the cover guys. And Ali walks in. At this point I’m thinking there’s no way in hell Muhammad Ali knows who the hell I am. I wanted to pass out, but let me just be cool. He came up to me… He whispered in my ear and said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. I know who you are. I love what you’re doing. Don’t ever stop. Keep striving for greatness.’ At that moment, there’s nothing else nobody could have told me that’s more powerful than that right there.”
We’re certain that Anthony has received his fair share of advice throughout his career, with the Blazers and elsewhere. However, as he explained above, it’s a different experience when someone as esteemed as Muhammad Ali not only tells you that he knows who you are, but also provides you with some invaluable advice. In truth, the message was pretty simple. Then again, coming from the greatest of all time, it is indeed a priceless gift Anthony continues to treasure to this very day.