Mask and vaxx up out the house, get in a socially distant line outside you local bookstore and grab a copy of Carmelo Anthony’s new memoir ‘Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised’ like he does a rebound. So much so you’ll be expletive shouting “(get) outta here. I got this.”
You need to go after this ‘Memoir of Survival and Hope’ like there’s no tomorrow.
Because in this game, there really isn’t.
We all know the new Los Angeles Laker, teammate and friend of LeBron James. We all know him as a New York legend. One who found blazing redemption last year in Portland. One of the last of the class of ’03, now that Chris Bosh (the new Hall of Famer also has a memoir out this year with ‘Letters To A Young Athlete’) and Dwyane Wade have had their last dance.
The guy drafted by a Denver franchise who, like Cleveland for the King, changed their whole identity for Anthony. The former Oak Hill and Syracuse standout who was instantly recognizable from half a first name like ‘Bron, as these two entered the association like Magic and Bird. We all know the hoodie or Olympic ‘Melo we only wish we could have seen in Tokyo.
But before all that the ten-time NBA All-star, three-time Olympic gold medalist and maybe even one day NBA champion, we hope gets to leave the game with his former rookie rival turned brother in arms, was so much more.
This book ends on a handshake. One with the late, great commissioner David Stern, following a prelude as ‘Melo asks, “how did I-a kid who’d had so many hopes, dreams, and expectations beaten out of him-make it here at all?”
If you came for some stories inside the NBA, you came to the wrong place. Much like the autobiography of rock legend Lenny Kravitz released last year, ‘Let Love Rule’. Concerning his childhood and life before the debut like a draft release of his first album of the same memoir name. This is all about ‘before they were famous’.
Take a leaf out of Bosh’s profound ‘Letter’s’ for all that NBA jazz like Utah. ‘Where Tomorrows’ takes it deeper. Back to the concrete heart of the streets. Where cracked pavements and broken dreams pave the way like crack vials and syringes that this young baller must dribble between and away from like cones if he ever wants to make it out of here. Let alone make it at all.
Based on the New York Red Hook and then Baltimore streets made infamous by HBO’s groundbreaking series ‘The Wire’, this is much more powerful than just your average rags to riches cautionary tale. Carmelo has got more than love for the soul of the streets. The blacktop is tarred in his heart. Ever since the days they called him ‘Chello’ like he was playing bass.
Smart like three-fingers tapping the dome every time Anthony catches, shoots and swishes a three from Pico in downtown Los Angeles, ‘Tomorrows Aren’t Promised’ is the realest basketball book since ‘The Last Shot’ by Darcy Frey that looked at the heartbreaking streets of New York Stephon Marbury made it out of. Akin to another legend of the Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s latest ‘Black Cop’s Kid‘ essay for Amazon, this fellow social activist gives us a story with depth that is more than the game. Showing us other black lives that matter more than the mainstreams disregard.
It’s an education like yesterdays ‘I Promise’ documentary debuted on YouTube about the school King James built for the kids just like him in Akron. A ‘Passion Play’ like the Showtime of tomorrow’s special about another Hollywood superstar addition, Russell Westbrook.
They may be losing in the preseason right now, but these big-name Lakers are still working.
With co-signs on the back of the book from tennis ace Venus Williams and rap inspiration Raekwon the Chef of the Wu-Tang Clan who also have their own autobiographies out this fall (‘Come To Win’ and ‘From Staircase To Stage’, respectively). Expect this to be one of the best reads of the year like new memoirs from Jamie Foxx (‘Act Like You Got Some Sense’) and the ‘Will’ of the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith.
Syracuse stardom and Oak strong memories up on the hill conclude these chapters. As does the dime dropped details of almost being drafted by Detroit before some kid called Darko made that deal dead. But these are mere footnotes compared to the roots of family and the projects that housed not only young Carmelo, but also his visionary dreams. Those that will one day see the Anthony name in rafter maybe even with a banner as he walks the hall.
Racism, violence, poverty, mental-health and even death. Carmelo Anthony endured emotionally and explicitly escaped it all to be where he is today. But even in Hollywood the humble man won’t forget where he came from.
“For a Baltimore kid like me, making it to the NBA meant you had to be one of the top 453 players in the world. That was out of roughly 541,000 high school athletes, 166,000 AAU ballers, and 32,000 college players in America. Change those figures into millions if we consider the entire world. On top of those odds, you had to reach that level of success all while trying not to be murdered.”
It will never merely be just yesterday to him, but today Anthony has the strength to promise his own tomorrow.