With gold medal trifecta, Carmelo Anthony says ‘I would be very happy walking away’

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Carmelo Anthony /

Would three gold medals but no NBA rings satisfy Carmelo Anthony?

With 22,497 career points, good for 29th in NBA history, there’s little doubt that Carmelo Anthony has solidified his place among basketball’s all-time great scorers. However, in an era where superstars’ validity is measured based on their ability to deliver championship titles, Anthony has fallen short, having only reached one conference finals in his career.

On a New York Knicks team building around a budding young Latvian, it’s unlikely Anthony will ever match the postseason glory his buddies on the “Banana Boat Squad” have enjoyed in their respective careers.

The thing is, Anthony seems okay with that after his tremendous success as a four-time member and newfound role as a veteran leader on Team USA’s Olympic squad.

“Most athletes don’t have an opportunity to say that they won a gold medal, better yet three gold medals,” Anthony told ESPN. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals.

“I can look back on it when my career is over — if I don’t have an NBA championship ring — and say I had a great career.”

Having already eclipsed LeBron James as the top Olympic scorer in Team USA’s history during a 31-point showing against Australia, a record third gold medal would cement Anthony as the greatest player to don the stars and stripes on the international stage.

If Anthony’s NBA postseason woes continue — which, based on the Knicks’ current state, seems likely — is there still a place for him in the highest echelon among the league’s heroes?

Of the 28 players ahead of him on the all-time scoring list, each non-active player is already in the NBA Hall of Fame, assuming the likes of Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen and Tim Duncan become enshrined in Springfield.

Anthony wouldn’t be alone as an elite scorers to never win in The Finals, joining legends such as Elvin Hayes, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson and Dominique Wilkins to never win on the game’s brightest stage.

Next: Carmelo tops all Team USA scorers

So, why has winning eluded Anthony for much of his career? Has it been poor building blocks surrounding his name on his rosters, or has his iso-heavy style of play lowered his squads’ ceilings?

It may never be known why Anthony couldn’t win in the NBA, but he’s carved his spot as statistically the best Olympian to ever take the court, and when combined with a Syracuse championship and marks all over the Knicks’ record books, he has every right to walk away from the game with a smile when his time comes to a close.