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Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony assumed the role of 2008 Kobe Bryant in Rio Olympics

Carmelo Anthony embraced being the elder statesman on Team USA‘s roster.

He accepted the responsibility of being the leader of the team, even showing the younger players little response as they joked around on social media.

Anthony spoke with NBA.com’s David Aldridge, and likens himself and his role on the team to the 2008 Redeem Team’s version of Kobe Bryant.

That’s more like it. 2008 Kobe is more like it. We was actually surprised that he accepted the invitation in 2008. But once he got there it was more of kind of him and Jason Kidd, and kind of looking for those guys for that advice. That’s what’s happening here now. I’m the only one now.

Bryant joined the team being the most experienced player, having won championships and knowing what it took to win. He joined a young team looking to re-establish themselves after a devastating loss in the 2004 Olympic games to Argentina in Athens.

Anthony signed on knowing most of his superstar counterparts had declined their invitations, and with Team USA having to almost completely revamp the entire team on the fly. At the age of 32, this would likely be Anthony’s last chance at a gold medal, and how could he leave the team without a leader?

He knew the disappointment of losing, failing the expectations and looking for someone to tell the team what it takes to win the gold. He had lived through all of those experiences.

I was the one that was following (Kobe) and wanted to work out with him every day, and train with him, and try to dig into his mindset to see how he was thinking and what his approach was to the game. So I give that experience back to these guys.

Now he leaves FIBA with his third consecutive gold medal and his obligation fulfilled to the guys he played next to.

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