Carmelo Anthony is confident. Melo told Charlie Rose in a brand new interview that he believes in his team, and just as important, he has empowered himself to beat the Miami Heat to advance to the finals. Last night’s broadcast was different from other interviews Rose conducts with pop culture figures. First off, I watch a lot of Charlie Rose, even the episodes where he’s talking to authors, political figures and financial tycoons. Watching him and Melo chop it up was an exercise in his mastery of the art of conversation. They exchanged laughs from across the table about the trash talking in the NBA—alluding to when Melo waited for Kevin Garnett at the team bus after Boston’s controversial defeat of the Knicks.
Melo never shied away from Rose fielding him tough questions about what he would have done differently or even which sport would he take over basketball, if he were an all-star of course. Fun Fact: Carmelo’s first sport was baseball when he was growing up in Red Hook. If you’ve watched a lot of pre-game and post-game interviews with Melo, he keeps his answers short, mostly because he’s being flanked from all directions by microphones wanting his insight on a win or loss. When Melo and Charlie Rose spoke, it seemed like you were getting a glimpse at two guys who seem to always cross paths, but never took the time out to have tea. Speaking of tea, Rose closed the interview with a nod to Melo reading the Financial Times in London a few months back. Melo laughed, then responded, “I’m culturally diverse.” Regardless of the Knicks being in the spotlight right now, it was inevitable that Carmelo and Charlie would finally catch up. Charlie Rose likes for his interviewees to have an interesting through-line to their career. A challenge, a goal, a process of evolution. Melo said through the course of the interview: “I came here a year and a half ago, towards the end of the season. I had to jump into the fire.” “I was coming home, so it made it that much more fun.” “I had to reinvent myself mentally.” “My role, my focus. I knew I was gonna come back in top notch shape, but mentally, I had to be prepared for that. I wanted my teammates to see that.”
It also helps if Charlie has a personal rapport with his subjects from being familiar with them outside of the show. There are stories about Rose booking his own guests after running into them at Cipriani. It’s not clear that he and Melo are drinking buddies, but there was a moment when Rose appreciated the fact that Melo had played under coach Mike Krzyzewski when he lead the USA Basketball team to a gold medal in 2012. Charlie Rose’s alma mater is Duke University, one of the winning-est schools in college basketball thanks to Coach K’s leadership. These two had plenty to talk about, which included D’Antoni’s system, the reinvention of Melo’s mind state for this season, and his only fear in the NBA—not another player, but their team.