New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will be playing on his third Olympic team later this month in London. During a break from USA Basketball training camp, the 2008 gold medalist talked to Fourth-Place Medal about Olympic motivation, Opening Ceremony fashion and whether the Blake Griffin dunk was more impressive than the Kyrie Irving dribbling clinic.
Fourth-Place Medal: Last Olympics for USA Basketball was all about redemption from 2004. What's the motivation this time around?
Carmelo Anthony: Oh man, it's to go over there and do it again. To know that the rest of the world has a target on us. So they're coming at us with everything they have and we've got to be prepared for that.
FPM: Before 2008 you said, "we have to beat ourselves to lose." Is that still true in 2012?
Carmelo Anthony: Absolutely, absolutely. In 2008 that was the case and now that's the case. The guys that we have on this team we feel like we have to beat ourselves in order for us to lose. That's not cockiness, that's a confidence that we have. So we're going to go over there and do what we have to do in order to win.
[ Related: U.S. Olympic team without NBA players? ]
FPM: Obviously you all did win in Beijing. What was going through your head as you were standing on the podium and watching the flag get raised?
Carmelo Anthony: The flag raised and then our national anthem started playing. You have to be there to understand the feeling. It was goosebumps. Everybody is singing our national anthem, the flag went up and they put the medals around our neck. There's no better feeling than that in anything.
[ Photos: USA Men's Basketball National Team ]
FPM: One of the memories that sticks out from 2008 is you walking into Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony carrying a video camera. Have you watched that video at all?
Carmelo Anthony: (Laughs) Of course, I watch that footage all the time. You're just walking around, you have all the athletes from America at one place. That's when we all become one. We're close to last when they announce us. It's not about Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James or Michael Phelps; it's not about individuals. It's about the U.S. and that's the experience I had.
FPM: What's the highlight on that video?
Carmelo Anthony: I can't tell you because that's the behind the scenes. I can't really say. (Laughs)
[ Video: 1992 'Dream Team' redemption ]
FPM: You're a pretty fashionable guy. Tell me how the white pants, blue blazer look worked for you in Beijing. [Note: This interview was conducted hours before Polo released the 2012 Opening Ceremony uniform that looks similar to the 2008 version.]
Carmelo Anthony: It was hot. (Laughs) It was hot over there in Beijing. We all looked good though. We all were distinct.
FPM: Kobe and some others wore the beret. You and Boozer and Chris Paul didn't. If there's a hat this time around [there is], you rocking it?
Carmelo Anthony: Yeah, of course. (Laughs) By that time we walked around, the hat was already dirty. We were sitting there three or four hours before they called our name and it was about 110 degrees.
FPM: Speaking of heat, you're in Las Vegas now after training camp started last week. How's that going?
[ Video: Blake Griffin's nifty trick dunk ]
Carmelo Anthony: Training camp is doing well. We're all locked in for this Olympics. We can't wait to get over there.
FPM: This is your third Olympics. What do you most look forward to leading up to the camp?
Carmelo Anthony: Just getting back out there, getting with the guys that I compete with on a night to night basis. Having a chance to play with this on the team together is one experience. And getting to the Olympics with all the fellow Americans, changing the conversation, talking about the experience, just being there, you really feel that American pride when you get over there.
[ Photos: Team USA in training ]
FPM: You're doing some work with the "Got Milk?" campaign?
Carmelo Anthony: Yes, we're doing some promo stuff right now. My role with this campaign is to give the athletes some insight on what it takes to refuel and replenish your mind with chocolate milk after the hard game or any competitive endeavor you take place in.
FPM: Video from training camp has been coming out the past few days. Two things have been blowing up the past few days. One was Blake Griffin's dunk --
Carmelo Anthony: Yup.
FPM: -- and the other was Kyrie Irving, who was on the select team, dribbling through what looked like Durant and Harden. Which play was more impressive?
Carmelo Anthony: Definitely the Blake dunk was very, very impressive. Nobody knew what he was about to do. You had to be there to get the full effect. He was tired, he was doing that for about eight to 10 minutes straight and that was the last play. So we weren't expecting that. That's what made it more intriguing.
[ Video: Olympic torch gets a soak ]
FPM: The Kyrie Irving video cuts out before he gets to you. There you are in the lane. Did he score or did you stop him?
Carmelo Anthony: No, he scored. He made a hell of a move. Kyrie Irving is a good point guard and he's on his way to greater things. It's exciting to have him on the court at the same time with us and competing against us. He's a very good player.
FPM: Olympics start in two weeks. Before it does, you're going to Barcelona to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Dream Team. What will it be like to be honoring them 20 years out?
[ Photos: No-lympians: NBA pros off the U.S. team ]
Carmelo Anthony: For us, it's a blessing and an honor just to be a part of this whole situation. To know the foundation they laid when they started international play for the Olympics for basketball players. That's a big deal, so we'll honor the Dream Team in Barcelona in a couple weeks. It'll be some fun times.
FPM: You have your raincoat picked out for London?
Carmelo Anthony: If I don't, I'm pretty sure I'll get one there.
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