New York Knicks

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony visited young inmates at Rikers Island in hopes to encourage them moving forward in their lives.

By Chip Murphy

We heard an entire summer of negative reports about Carmelo Anthony. Now that we have heard the man speak and watch him play, we know nothing could be further from the truth. He is still the ultimate optimist when asked about his team, per NY Daily News. Anthony’s positive attitude, larger than life personality, and upbringing in the rough city of Baltimore make him the perfect person to talk to a group of young inmates at Rikers Island.

Per Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Anthony described the message he wanted to offer to the young men and what he did to help them.

“A lot of encouragement,” he said on Sunday. “A lot of the kids that [are] in there, they still have a chance to come home in the next couple of years. … They still have a life ahead of them.”

Anthony said he spent time in their cells, and the dorms of their facility. The man who signed a $100 million contract just last summer was attempting to be a sounding board for these men who in a situation far less fortunate.

“I was just trying to hear their stories. A lot of people don’t [give them] a chance to let them voice their opinion,” Anthony said. “So getting out there kind of put a lot of things in perspective for myself, talking to the kids. It was touching to me, just to be in there, being in their environment and seeing what they go through on a day-to-day basis.”

Anthony described the entire experience at Rikers as, “deep” and “life-changing.” With all the criticism that Melo has received over the summer, it is nice to see him be a part of a story like this. He deserves the respect of all of us for this honorable act. Once again, Anthony shows that he is far more than a basketball player. He’s a New York icon and a symbol for making it out of a troubled neighborhood to be a true success story.

Footage of Anthony’s visit to Rikers will appear in the third episode of his Vice Sports series “Stay Melo.”

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I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.