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Shooting Star

Twenty-five-year-old Carmelo Anthony has an impressive résumé on and off the basketball court.
Kenneth Shouler
From the Print Edition:
Hugh Grant, November/December 2009

(continued from page 4)

Whatever the title hopes are for the near future, Anthony seems to have put controversies behind him. Over a four-year period between 2004 and 2008 he was accused of a litany of piddling offenses, such as marijuana possession (charges were dropped when a friend signed an affidavit taking responsibility for the marijuana), and taking part in an ill-advised video called, "Stop Snitchin'" that warned residents of Baltimore who collaborated with the police that they would face violence. Later, a friend was pulled over in Anthony's vehicle and cited for marijuana possession. Anthony was handed a 15-day suspension for his part in a brawl at Madison Square Garden in which he hit Knicks guard Mardy Collins and then ran. Finally, in 2008 he was arrested in Denver for a more serious charge of driving under the influence, a charge dropped when he pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired.

None of this seems to rise to the level of carrying a gun without a license and shooting yourself or electrocuting dogs or vehicular homicide while driving drunk—all of which we've seen from NFL players in the last two years. But Anthony felt it was time to change.

"That's when I sat down and had a chance to have a talk with myself. You're not in Baltimore no more. You're in a new era of the NBA, the new generation of the NBA, not just basketball. The young generation as a whole looks up to me. Is this something I really want to do? Do I want to be great, or do I just want to be an average person and an average basketball player? I came too far and I worked too hard just to be average. I want to be great. I had to sit down with myself and dig deep and ask myself what I want to do and really realize that I have my own destiny in my own hands. There are things that you do growing up; I hate to make excuses, but I was 18, 19, 20 and it happened. My big thing is just learning from that mistake."

Trying to improve on his past includes spending time at home with his fiancée Alani "La La" Vazquez and his two-year-old son, Kiyan Anthony, whose father marvels that he has the patience to watch football games from start to finish. And he says he may even try other cigar brands besides his go-to Nicaraguan favorite. "I already know how a Padrón tastes, so I might try something different. But I am primarily a Padrón guy. If I am out and about I might try something else." That sounds like the philosophy of someone who has miles to go before he sleeps.

A frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado, Kenneth Shouler was the managing editor and chief writer for Total Basketball: The Ultimate Basketball Encyclopedia.

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