He's a 10-time all-star, 3-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the biggest stars in the NBA, but at this time last year, Carmelo Anthony was out of the league.
Some thought it was the end of a hall of fame career.
"Getting an opportunity to see the game, get away from the game, kind of just build myself up from a mental standpoint, emotional standpoint," said Anthony.
He signed with the Portland Trail Blazers in November of 2019.
"Coming to Portland with the unknown of what's going to happen, taking a chance and moving to a place where -- I had no idea what Portland was," said Anthony. "Other than going to the Nike campus and it being wine country, that's the only thing I knew about Portland."
It took less than a month to prove he could still play at a high level. Anthony was named Western Conference Player of the Week but this year has been about more than just basketball.
"Honestly this year has been a roller coaster, especially for me personally," said Anthony. "The joy of coming back, the excitement and then to lose my brother Kobe in this same year and dealing with that. Fast forward to the coronavirus. It's been a very rocky, up-and-down, weird season emotionally, but this is a season that I will never forget. I was able to take what I experienced, learned, figured out in that time off and applied that not just to basketball, but to life."
He's continuing to use his platform for social change. This time, as guest editor-in-chief for a special issue of Slam Magazine. Putting the spotlight on racial inequality.
"I told them the only way I'll be involved in this is if you let me take the gloves off and let me be creative, tell the stories that I want to tell and that's what happened," said Anthony. "To have my son on the front of (the cover) was me standing behind him, letting him know, letting the world know, that I just don't have my son's back, I've got this next generation's back as well and those are the people that need to be heard."
Players will be allowed to have social messages on the back of their jerseys when the season resumes at the end of July inside the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Anthony hasn't decided what will be on his jersey, but he will be playing in a game for the first time since the pandemic shut down the sports world.
The Trail Blazers open play against the Memphis Grizzlies July 31.
"I have concerns. Everybody has concerns about what's going to happen. How everything is going to transpire. We just don't know," said Anthony. "This is going to make things stronger because if we don't get this right, then this puts a dent in sports in America and all over the world. Everybody is looking at the NBA to see how this is going to play out."
The motivation is simple.
"Basketball at the end of the day. Wanting to play, wanting to get back on the court, that's my personal motivation," said Anthony. "I've been challenging myself to think that way as opposed to thinking about all the negatives."