Everyone wants a piece of Carmelo Anthony right now, they want to know where he’s going, with whom he’d sign an extension. Considering New York is a very likely destination for Carmelo, it’s no surprise that last week the New York Times wrote a piece on Carmelo. Jonathan Abrams examined more than just the likelihood of each of the prospective locales, he delved into Carmelo’s youth and ran across another player that Clipper fans will recognize, Rasual Butler.
In seventh grade, Anthony spotted Rasual Butler, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, at a basketball tournament. At the time, Butler was a high school all-American from Philadelphia and five years older than Anthony. Anthony challenged Butler to play one-on-one, and Butler obliged again and again.
“He hated to lose,” Daniel said. “And I’ll tell you what: Rasual Butler had to take him in the paint to beat him.”
The article went on, but I wanted to know how Rasual remembered that time, and how Carmelo developed, so I asked him.
“Why would they want to talk about that?”
Rasual smiled while he said it. I told him that people wanted to know about the formative moments of players because those stories add to the legend of players. He obliged with some historical perspective.
“Yeah, well, you know I’m from Philly, he’s from Baltimore. Born in New York, but he went to school in Baltimore. We played against each other in different camps, played against one another in AAU basketball. He’s one of my good friends, you know, he’s a little younger than me but he was always really good, especially when he hit his growth spurt. That’s when he really became a player,” Rasual said.
“I remember he was like 6’3” and then he jumped up to 6’8” in a year or so, might have been around his sophomore or junior year, if I remember correctly. He’s always been a really good basketball player, works really hard, and it shows in his game.”
Understanding the age difference, I asked if Rasual ever had a mentoring role with ‘Melo.
“Well, I’ve known him a while but I wouldn’t say I was a mentor to him, but you travel with guys, you interact with guys. I’ve alwasy had a lot of respect for him, he’s always had a lot of respect for me.”
With the emphasis of those games being Rasual’s need to take Melo to the paint, it begged the question of how Melo has developed his game since then.
“He’s more of a power player, plays above the rim, always been able to handle the ball well. He’s a handful. He can really score the ball well, he’s one of the best scorers in our league.”
Now, we’ll all wait to see where Melo ends up.