After speaking to a group of 23 students at Jordan Brand’s Breakfast Club event earlier this morning at Rucker Park, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul also took part in a quick open forum Q & A session for media members.
As is usually the case, media members don’t exactly get that players would rather not talk about things like contract extensions or 2012 free agency, but they ask anyway. Read along for a series of questions that I’m taking no responsibility for.
Media: We haven’t seen you guys working out with Team USA specifically, but we know that all three of you guys are working out on your own. What are some of the workouts you guys are doing, and what are some things that you’re working on for next season?
Carmelo Anthony: I’m just training and getting ready for the season. As you all know, I had a busy summer and a busy schedule.
Dwyane Wade: Congratulations.
Carmelo Anthony: Thank you. They congratulate me. And I’m going around the country building courts and doing courts for kids in a bunch of cities. I just got back from Puerto Rico and built one there, and I’m going to do one in Baltimore next week on the 21st. And thank you CP, for the congratulations. [laughs]
Chris Paul: Like Melo said, we all travel a lot, and when we end up in the same city, we try and work out with each other. We’re all just trying to get better and ready for the season. You know, I missed 37 [games] last year, and I wish we had a game tomorrow to tell you the truth.
Media: Last Olympics, DWade played with LeBron and Bosh, and now they’re on the same team. For CP and Melo, would you guys expect to do anything similar to what DWade has been doing?
Carmelo Anthony: Today we came here to do the Breakfast Club. That was our main goal today, to come out here and hang out with the kids and donate some of the checks to some of the organizations around here in the area. So yeah, me and CP are out here this weekend, and we came here to do this Breakfast Club. That’s your answer. [laughs]
Media: What do you think of the Spanish team for Turkey?
Chris Paul: They’re gonna be real good as usual, as always. We always talk about it. When you play international ball, it’s totally different than the NBA. Totally different. Guys really go out there and get to show all of their skills, and those guys have been playing together for awhile. Jose Calderon and all of them guys, they’re tough. They’re really tough. But if anyone is ready for it, I think Team USA will be ready.
Media: How did you guys enjoy working today with the kids, and looking back to when you were kids, how important was basketball to you when you were kids growing up?
Dwyane Wade: We really enjoyed it. It’s going to be something that they’re going to remember for a long time to come. They’re always going to be able to say, “You know what, I had fun playing with Melo, CP and DWade.” They’re going to tell those stories. Like the one kid that ripped CP, he’s going to go tell that story. [laughs]
Chris Paul: Hey man, there’s no video of it.
Dwyane Wade: It’s awesome, and it’s good that we can come together for the brand to do something for the community, and it’s important to us, and it’s for the kids in the community that are dedicated to this Breakfast Club. I’m happy I could do it with my two brethren.
We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t play basketball every day, all day, and get in trouble like Melo said, getting in trouble for playing basketball. Getting in trouble for playing in your new shoes that you’re supposed to wear to school, but you’d do it anyway. You don’t care; you’re just going to play basketball. I think that’s what we were trying to stress to the kids out there. This is for the love of the game, and you should do whatever it takes to make sure that basketball is a huge part of your life.
Chris Paul and the infamous rip just moments away.
Carmelo Anthony: I wish somebody came back to my neighborhood and did something like this. Growing up, I never had an opportunity for someone to come back and donate a court or donate a check to my rec center where I was at. I missed out on all of that. So now, I feel like I’m a kid again when it comes to doing stuff like this.
Chris Paul: For me, I’ve always been able to take myself and put myself in these kids’ shoes. I know that I wish when I was their age that I had a Dwyane Wade and a Carmelo Anthony to come and shake my hand. It’s crazy to even think about it. It’s crazy for me to even be sitting up here with these guys. It’s unreal, and I hope these kids really realize how much people truly care about them and that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Dwyane Wade: I talk to you every day. [laughs]
Chris Paul: I’m glad I know you guys!
Media: This question is for Carmelo. I was wondering if there were any updates on your contract extension with Denver?
Carmelo Anthony: I just signed with Rucker Park. [laughs] I signed my three-year with Rucker Park to the Breakfast Club.
Media: For all three, back in ’06 you guys were apart of Team USA, and then again in 2008 you were the leaders and going through those wars for the Olympics. Can you just talk about the experience of going in those wars and practicing and competing daily?
Carmelo Anthony: Like DWade said earlier, we went through the battles in ’04. We started from the ground up when we lost. Team USA lost, we came out with the bronze and everyone was asking, “Where is USA Basketball at?” In ’06, we came together and started to put it together, but we lost in ’06. In ’08, we just wanted to come in and redeem ourselves, and now we’re back to where we’re supposed to be.
Media: All three of you guys have had success in the playoffs in the past. This season was a little different. Melo and DWade, you guys lost in the first round, and you guys missed the playoffs CP.
Chris Paul: We didn’t get there, huh? [laughs]
Media: How much does the way that last season ended motivate each of you?
Carmelo Anthony: You ain’t even have to ask me that. Just look at my face. [laughs]
Chris Paul: For me, like I said, I missed 37 games. DWade and them took a different approach. [laughs] I guess DWade and Miami took it to heart.