It wasn’t that long ago that carmelo anthony was pushing a trusty green chrysler concord on baltimore streets. It was 2001 to be exact. That was before a basketball-loving world would know him simply as melo. It was before he would lead his syracuse team to the championship. It was before he would average 21 points a game in his nba rookie year as a denver nugget small forward, giving espn sports analysts something to talk about on nightly sports center broadcasts. And it was before he had the $20 million nike endorsement and his own piece of candy—the melo bar.
It was 2001 and Anthony was riding on a one-in-a-million shot through Baltimore’s slow-going streets, trying not to move too fast. “I got a heavy foot,” he says with a laugh reminiscing as he heads to the airport for tomorrow’s game against the L.A. Clippers.
In those days his main destination was the Oak Hill Academy high school gym in Virginia to grind through intense senior year practices that would lead to NBA hoop dreams. Like most folks from Baltimore, Anthony was keen on hard work. With his goals firmly in mind, he could fantasize about the trappings of wealth that would come with a spot in the NBA, with cars being high on his wish list.
He might not have known the financial rewards of the game firsthand, but he knew the pressure. He was rated the country’s top high school player, yet still a 17-year old at the mercy of all the variables that can go terribly wrong. Haters that can drag you down, just by mere association. His boys who weren’t cut out to be all-star athletes, going a different way about theirs. He had to balance a desire to be down against his athletic prowess that made him strikingly different from the average kid growing up in inner city Baltimore.
While he was a standout on the block with scouts hovering, there were no guarantees, and the commute to practice was essential to his success. “I drove that car everywhere,” Anthony says. “I didn’t want to get out of it. I was happy just to have a car. I don’t like relying on nobody else.”
Anthony took that self-reliant quality and did what average17 year-old boys can only imitate on the PlayStation2 like the one Anthony has in his GMC Yukon Denali— he won a scholarship to Syracuse University, leading the team as the Final Four MVP. He won a sweet first-round draft pick NBA deal. With that contract came a whole lot of attention. Lots of glory. Lots of money. Lots of endorsements. Lots of cars. And Alani “La La” Vasquez, his soon-to-be wifey riding shotgun.
If a change in car notes is a measure of how quickly Anthony has gone from being the kid who was going to take it all, to the man learning how to live with it, then the contrast is very real. And Anthony’s not shy about showing it off.
While most 21-year olds are still trying to find themselves, Anthony’s got five whips to ogle over. Depending on his mood, he’s got the Denali, a Range Rover, a fully restored ‘64 Continental, a brand-new Dodge Magnum and a 2003 BMW 745I riding on Symbolic SL14 3 piece chrome to choose from to make his daily rounds. He scoots around town doing what top-tier athletes do — extended morning practices, and afternoons filled with photo shoots and autograph signings.