Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony, along with fellow superstars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, have one goal for the Beijing Olympics: to bring home the gold. Men's Fitness caught up with Carmelo to get his thoughts on this year's Games.
You were only eight years old when Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson took home the gold in 1992. What impact did that Olympic team have on you?
Just knowing the history and the foundation those guys made for us was the biggest impact. I know it's kind of hard to follow in their footsteps and do what they did, but this is our chance to put the U.S. back where they belong.
Do you think this 2008 team has the potential to rank alongside the 1992 Dream Team?
Yeah, I think so. We have all the tools to be ranked up there, but the only thing that's going to determine that is winning. We keep in mind what they did, but we want to make our own identity. I think we're on the right track with doing that.
The 2004 team practiced together only 15 times and played six exhibitions. The 2008 team has already worked out more than 66 times and played 24 games. How has that helped you gel as a team?
The more time you spend with each other, the more you get to learn from each other and get comfortable around each other. I truly believe that just by winning together and being in tough situations together, you know what to expect from one another.
Do you have any favorite exercises?
When you're working out, I don't think any exercise is your favorite [Laughs.] I pretty much do it all. I started incorporating boxing a couple of years ago. That's intense. I have the utmost respect for any and all boxers.
What's your diet and nutrition like?
I have a personal chef. He can bake chicken and make it look like it's fried or make a low-carb spaghetti. The goal is to keep me at 8% body fat. I stay away from the red meat. I eat a lot of seafood and chicken. Sometimes I lose too much weight, and then I need to start eating red meat, carbs, rice, and pasta.
How important is fitness when it comes to either winning or losing a basketball game?
It all comes down to being fit. At the end of the game, it's what helps you beat the other team. Fitness is the key when it comes to anything in life.
Parting thoughts on the upcoming Summer Games?
Everyone will be coming at us with their A-game. You have Spain, Argentina, and China. Other countries are really getting better. In my mind, we're still the best. But we gotta go out there and prove it now. We have to bring back the swagger. We're far from cocky, but we're a very confident team. Anything less than a gold will be a disappointment.
To read about Melo's intense workout regimen, pick up the August issue of Men's Fitness.
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