The Fierce Urgency of Melo

From Baltimore to Broadway to Rio and late nights in bed confronting police violence, Carmelo Anthony has found his voice as the superstar conscience of professional sports. What’s he going to do with it?

By Lars Anderson

September 22, 2016

He walked through the dusty streets and narrow alleyways of the Santa Marta favela in Rio de Janeiro, the young and the old pointing at the tall American basketball player strolling through their slum. From afar, he looked perfectly at ease, a man at home, but up close his eyes were on fire with intensity, as if on alert. He had seen this before, every day, but he was starting to see things clearly now, all over again, the way he only used to see the bottom of a net.

Nearly 8,000 people live on this steep hillside where concrete and wooden shanties are stacked on top of each other like toy building blocks. Some of the homes are without electricity, but that didn’t stop word from spreading that Carmelo Anthony was in the neighborhood.

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