NBA Q&A: Carmelo Anthony on Racism

CA: The reason I feel so strongly about my beliefs is that it’s been going on forever. Then a part of me is like, “I can’t speak up on every single issue because then it’d be like, ‘Oh, he’s just talking again.'”

But when it’s powerful, timing is everything, and for me the Freddie Gray thing was the one that tipped me off. It was like something just exploded. It was like [snaps] now was the time. Enough is enough. And everybody’s calling me like, “We should do this” or “We should do that,” and I was like, “I’m going home.” If you want to come with me, you come with me, but I’m going home. I’m not calling reporters and getting on the news; I’m actually going there. I wanted to feel that. I wanted to feel that pain. I wanted to feel that tension.

HB: I remember when I was in college at Temple, just walking down the street. Here come some cops, put me on the ground at gunpoint. When that happens, it can’t be any more personal.

CA: When you’re in that environment, it’s a part of your life. You can’t control it. And it’s not until you step outside of that environment and start looking back that you’re like, “Oh, this is messed up.” I sit down with different people I grew up with and start reminiscing, and before when I used to tell that story it was, you know, funny. “Yo, remember when we got pulled over? When the police put us on the ground or they chased us?” It was funny. Now that s— ain’t funny no more.

HB: Did you watch the Tulsa video? [Editor’s note: The Sept. 16, 2016, shooting, captured by a police officer’s dashboard camera, showed an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher, being shot and killed by a white cop during a traffic stop. The officer, Betty Shelby, pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was acquitted in 2017.]

CA: Yeah, of course.

HB: I watched that and the first thing I said was, “That’s a murder.” That was the first thing that hit me.

CA: Right, and you could watch that with kids, and even kids will say that. There’s no more hiding news.

HB: Yet you still have a lot of people who just don’t see that this is an issue.

CA: Everybody knows it’s an issue. But it’s deeper than that. It’s higher than that. The system is broken. And we’ll continue to keep saying that. How can you sit and watch an execution live? And now it’s starting to become a norm to watch that. When you see it now, it’s like, “Oh, man. Another one got killed. Another guy got shot.” And you know, just like in anything, not all police are bad. You know what I mean? You have good ballplayers, you have bad ballplayers. You have good writers, you have bad writers. You have good drummers, bad drummers.

HB: You’ve met with law enforcement. What has the response been?

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