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Carmelo Anthony: The NBA has moved from “ring culture” to “money bags”

Melo’s thoughts on plenty of topics while promoting Tequila bottles.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Breaking news: Carmelo Anthony is enjoying his life.

Not quite shocking, I know. Melo has partnered with 1800 Tequila for a collaboration with his own brand STAYME7O.

The folks have cooked a collection of items ranging from a varsity jacket to a hoodie, a hat (of course!), and an embroidered patch. Check the link above if you want to know more. We’ll keep the story going below.

Melo has been talking about this new thing at different places, including GQ and Complex, and he’s touched on some basketball-related stuff worth recapping here cause this fellow is a walking wise man and a bonafide, Brooklyn-born-and-raised (he said it!), walking Knickerbockers legend.

First things first, don’t feel bad for the retired-39-year-old Anthony. He’s now at peace with retirement.

“It took me a while. It took me being away from the game for 15 months to understand what this feels like,“ Anthony revealed to GQ. “Now I’m cool, I’m at peace, I did it at the highest level.”

Melo played 19 seasons in the NBA. Donned the Nuggets, Knicks, Thunder, Rockets, Blazers, and Lakers threads. Never won the Larry O’B, but snatched an NCAA title and created the whole “Olympic Melo” character out of pure greatness playing at the international level on the brightest stages (cue the record three Gold Medals).

I was about to type some other of his accolades, but I grew tired just peeping at the endless list of awards.

Not winning that elusive ring? “It don’t bother me,” he told Complex.

“The game changed,” Melo explained. “The culture of the game changed. In the ‘80s, ‘90s, it was about ring culture. I think now it’s the money, it’s the bag, it’s let me go get $200 (million) and rightfully so. But the focus is not just rings no more.

“You still wanna win the championship. I just think that the mindset has shifted tremendously when it comes to ring culture,” Melo added. “There’s no way that guys who haven’t won the ring shouldn’t still get the credit that they deserve.”

Anthony proceeded to name some examples of ringless players, along with himself, such as Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller, saying “you know who [they are],” and adding, “We are who we are. So because we didn’t win the NBA championship, we shouldn’t get credit? Like we should just be dismissed on everything?”

As Melo sees the current NBA—and funnily enough in some sort of a Knicks-related way considering where the franchise finds itself at in terms of contending for the championship—he thinks “With teams doing everything they gotta do, [bringing] four/five All-Stars together... for the teams that are developing and young, they ain’t got no shot right now. They have to work their way up.”

Asked about the Knicks in particular and their pursuit of said superstar, Melo said New York is “a star-driven city,” and he thinks “eventually, they will (get a superstar).”

More than that, he does not “think” the Knicks will get that player, but Melo actually believes the franchise “is going to have to get a star.”

“They have all the assets for a team,” he said. “Eventually, the Knicks are going to have to get a star. You have to look at it. I’m sure it’s part of everyday conversations.”

Anthony touched on many more topics, including....

His eventual number retiring at MSG: “This is New York—to go up in the rafters of Madison Square Garden, it’s like you went up in the rafters of the world.”

Not liking being labeled simply as a basketball player: “You can’t be one-dimensional. I hate it when they say ‘Oh, you’re an athlete or you’re a basketball player’.”

The growth of international basketball impacting the NBA/USA: “There’s more resources and more outlets. I think athletes and ball players, in particular, are starting to get opportunities to come over to this side of the world, and they’re taking advantage of those opportunities.“

Make sure to read the full interviews over GQ and Complex, because they’re well worth it.