Team USA‘s Carmelo Anthony first started his quest for gold at the age of 20. Success wasn’t immediate, and he suffered the pain of losing in the medal round in 2004.

That pain would be a driving force for him years later. Three Olympic tournaments and 12 years passed, and he has decided to retire from international competition altogether.

He isn’t leaving empty handed however, because he’s walking away with a record three gold medals on his resume, something he never imagined when he first joined Team USA.

This time around, Anthony was the team’s resident veteran player, full of experience and wisdom, ready to lead this less-than-stacked USA team to another gold medal.

His leadership role will spill over to the New York Knicks, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Not only was his role on Team USA different, but it will be different back home as well.

USA Basketball’s managing director Jerry Colangelo  spoke with TNT’s David Aldridge after winning the gold medal on Sunday.

I think this was a coming out party in terms of leadership for him. I think that’s going to bode well for the Knicks and for Carmelo going forward, and I just want to thank him for his great service to USA Basketball.

Melo was a different kind of guy. He’d been around the track a few times. This was, he wasn’t sure he was going to do it. I think in retrospect, he’s happy he did.

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Anthony likened his new leadership role to Kobe Bryant of the 2008 U.S. team, and not only did he embrace the responsibility, but his teammates recognized his position, and accepted in everything gave them.

Paul George added to the conversation.

Melo’s for sure the leader of us. He’s the voice of this team. It seems more and more, the further we got into this thing, really the more vocal and the more he picked it up for us.

Most importantly, head coach Mike Krzyzewski gave Anthony credit for “setting the tone”, being responsible, and taking the job seriously.

I call it character. At that moment, sometimes in a loss, you find out a deep character in someone, and that’s what happened with Carmelo.

The Knicks have much to look forward to next season. New leadership, a new roster, a renewed character, and a chance to achieve more than they’ve been able to in over a decade.

It all starts with the new Anthony.