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Carmelo Anthony’s trip to Rio’s favelas is a big part of his Olympic legacy

Melo won, but he also made some memories off the court.

The 2016 Rio Olympics are finished. The athletes have all returned home, and the city — the whole damn country, in fact — is left to clean up what has been by all accounts a financial disaster for Brazil.

As for our own Carmelo Anthony, he captured his third Olympic gold on a USA team that probably won’t last very long in the collective consciousness of American basketball fans. They got the job done, but they never quite captured imaginations the way some previous squads had.

With that in mind, let’s look back on one Melo moment that actually may have made an impression on at least a few downtrodden souls: His trip to the Rio favelas before the Olympic quarterfinals:

Here’s a nice Facebook video of Melo joining in a pick-up game with some kids. Look at him standing on the perimeter calling for the ball! #Selfish #HeroBall #IsoMelo

He later spoke on the experience with The Vertical’s Michael Lee:

“You have ‘American poor’ — which we take for granted — but then you have the real, serious ‘global poor.’ Global poverty is something that’s sad. It’s something that I wish everybody could see. I wish everybody could go there and see what it’s really like.”

When sports fans look back on these games, they’ll remember the exploits of Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Usain Bolt. If asked to recall a moment outside of sports, they’ll probably look back upon the breathlessly-covered Ryan Lochte saga. But there is a neighborhood full of kids somewhere in Rio who will always remember the day that Carmelo Anthony came to town. That’s pretty cool. Melo is pretty cool.