After three Olympic golds, Carmelo Anthony retires from Team USA

ByIan Begley ESPN logo
Monday, August 22, 2016

An emotional Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from international play on Sunday after helping the United States men's Olympic team win gold.

Anthony is the first American men's basketball player to win three gold medals, the third coming after Team USA's 96-66 win over Serbia on Sunday. He'll also retire as the all-time leading scorer in men's U.S. Olympic play with 336 points, as well as the program's all-time leading rebounder.

"I know this is the end. This is it for me, this is it for me. I committed to something ..." Anthony said in an interview with NBC, trailing off for several seconds to gather himself. "I committed to this in [2004]. I've seen the worst and I've seen the best and I stuck with it -- we stuck with it. And I'm here today, three gold medals later."

Anthony and the U.S. men settled for a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics in a disappointing performance; he's helped the Americans win three straight gold medals since. Anthony had seven points and seven rebounds on Sunday, checking back in in the final quarter so he could get one more rebound -- the 125th of his Olympic career -- which pushed him past David Robinson on the all-time list.

"I'm excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this," he told NBC.

Anthony, 32, chose to play with the U.S. team in a summer in which close friends LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade either passed on the chance to play or were sidelined by injury. He said on Sunday that he appreciated the opportunity to lead a new group of Olympians to gold.

"I just want to say thank you for allowing me to be one of the leaders, not just of our team but of our country," Anthony said.

The last part of his statement was a reference to the vocal stance Anthony has taken this summer in the wake of shooting deaths of African American men by police officers and the shooting deaths of police officers across the country.

Anthony used Sunday's platform to send a message of unity in the wake of the recent social unrest.

"Despite everything that's going on right now in our country, we got to be united," he said. ".... America will be great again, I believe that. We got a lot of work to do, but one step at a time. I'm glad we represented it in the fashion that we did."