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Viacom's Nickelodeon is partnering with NBA star Carmelo Anthony on a line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles inspired consumer products. [...]
The New York Knicks star and self-professed Turtles super-fan will serve as creative director of Turtles by Melo, a consumer products line inspired by the Nickelodeon franchise. It is expected to span lifestyle products, home furnishings, publishing, video games and more. Turtles by Melo is set to debut in the spring 2016, ahead of the summer theatrical release of Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, in which Anthony has a cameo.
“I am so excited about the opportunity to work with the Nickelodeon team on this new Turtles venture,” said Anthony.
“The Turtles were a big part of my childhood. I have been connecting with the brand for a long time,” Anthony, 31, tells The Hollywood Reporter. Nowadays, “I watch with my son,” who is 8, he adds.
That's funny. I thought 'Melo was more of a "Disney Afternoon" guy.
Melo lookin like Darkwing Duck tonight pic.twitter.com/NKeQzDPrdC— Logan Rhoades (@LoganRhoades) December 15, 2014
I bet JaVale McGee's heated right about now that he didn't get the TMNT call before 'Melo. It's like all that ground-level buzz-marketing work for the first Turtles reboot movie was for nothing, man.
Plenty of contemporary basketball players have followed in the footsteps of iconic ballplayers/businessmen like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal by spending considerable time, focus and energy on cultivating lucrative off-court opportunities — LeBron James' interest in Beats Electronics, for example, or Russell Westbrook's various fashion concerns.
While Anthony continues to stress that basketball remains his top priority — he said this week that rehabilitation from his season-ending left knee surgery is going "very, very well" — he has also made it clear that he wants to be known for something (and perhaps multiple things) beyond basketball. He's worked to expand his business horizons in recent years, following in the footsteps of former NBA stars Jamal Mashburn and Michael Redd by getting into the venture capital game with last summer's launch of M7 Tech Partners, and branching out into sports ownership by launching Puerto Rico FC, a new club that will begin playing in the North American Soccer League in 2016.
Becoming the creative director of a special line of children's toys and products might sound like kind of an odd and unusual path for Carmelo's off-court interests, but it's worth remembering that kid stuff represents big business. As THR notes, the 2014 Ninja Turtles reboot movie has grossed more than $485 million worldwide, while the wide array of TMNT consumer products netted $1.5 billion in retail sales. That's an awful big revenue stream to tap into, and if 'Melo can do it while also earning some extra cool points with his young son Kiyan, well, so much the better.
It remains to be seen what sort of products result from the "Turtles by Melo" partnership, and whether they'll clean up at the cash register. I, for one, hope they do, if only to open the door for the "Power Rangers by J.R. Smith" collaboration that the game's been missing. Let's keep our fingers crossed and our credit cards at the ready, y'all.
Hat-tip to Ananth Pandian of Eye on Basketball.
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