Carmelo Anthony won his third gold medal in four tries on Sunday, and then he announced he was done with international competition. Anthony first represented the United States 12 years ago when Team USA won bronze at the Olympic Games under Larry Brown.
"I knew this is the end," Anthony told Ros Gold-Onwude on NBC moments after Team USA's 96-66 win over Serbia. "This is it for me. I committed to something ..." Anthony then paused for 21 seconds, soaking in the cheers from the crowd. "I committed to this in '04. I've seen the worst and I've seen the best. And I stuck with it. And we stuck with it. And I'm here today, three gold medals later. I'm just, I'm excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this."
This was as emotional as Anthony has ever been publicly, and it's understandable. Throughout his 13 years in the NBA, he has received all sorts of criticism for his teams being unable to win big. While he has been a terrific playoff performer, he has only been to the conference finals once. On the international stage, though, Anthony has been more successful than just about anybody.
Anthony is the only male basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals. He is Team USA's all-time leader in points, games played and rebounds at the Olympics. He can retire from the national team knowing that his dedication to USA Basketball can never be questioned.
Of course, this all assumes that Anthony is not convinced to do this all again in four years. LeBron James is basically the same age as Anthony, and he has intentionally left the door open to participate, as he would like to play for new Team USA coach Gregg Popovich. Who's to say that James can't convince Anthony to give it one last go in Tokyo?