Published On: Tue, Aug 23rd, 2016

Colangelo: Melo's coming out party as U.S. leader 'bodes well' for Knicks

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Carmelo Anthony was just 20 years old when he first suited up in the Summer Games for Team USA. Twelve years, three tournaments, and three gold medals later, he’s retiring from international competition as the program’s most decorated Olympian.

His role changed each time around, and culminated in Rio as the elder statesman who didn’t partake in his young teammates’ shenanigans, but was there to offer advice and words of wisdom.

That growth will hopefully help him as he continues his NBA career with the New York Knicks.

“I think this was a coming out party in terms of leadership for him,” USA Basketball’s managing director Jerry Colangelo said postgame Sunday, as quoted by TNT’s David Aldridge. “I think that’s going to bode well for the Knicks and for Carmelo going forward, and I just want to thank him for his great service to USA Basketball.”

He added that the 32-year-old – who holds the U.S. records for most points (336) and rebounds (125), among others – is more mature now.

“Melo was a different kind of guy,” he continued. “He’d been around the track a few times. This was, he wasn’t sure he was going to do it. I think in retrospect, he’s happy he did.”

Related: Jordan Brand praises Melo for Olympic success

Anthony’s compatriots also attested to his ability to guide the squad.

“Melo’s for sure the leader of us,” Paul George said. “He’s the voice of this team. It seems more and more, the further we got into this thing, really the more vocal and the more he picked it up for us.”

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski credits the 6-foot-8 forward with “setting the tone” for the standards of the organization in 2006 following its loss to Greece in the World Championships. They haven’t dropped a game on the international stage since Anthony preached collective responsibility and accountability at that presser.

“I call it character,” Coach K said. “At that moment, sometimes in a loss, you find out a deep character in someone, and that’s what happened with Carmelo.”

The Knicks are hoping that character and maturity, along with a revamped roster, can help them return to the playoffs following three seasons of ineptitude.

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