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MANILA, Philippines – Newest FIBA World Cup global ambassador Carmelo Anthony said it is “special” for him to be taking a similar role the late Kobe Bryant had in the 2019 edition.
Bryant was named as the global ambassador during the 2019 World Cup in China, roughly a few months before he died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“It’s special to kind of follow what Kobe has created on a global scale of basketball, [Bryant] being an ambassador previously and me, our friendship and our brotherhood and what we created over the years,” said Anthony during a special ceremony at the historic Araneta Coliseum on Friday, February 24.
“For me to just follow and continue and keep that legacy going, not just for myself, and not just for the United States, but also for him too,” he added.
Anthony, along with Bryant’s longtime Los Angeles Lakers teammate Pau Gasol and Olympic gold medalist Luis Scola, will be the triumvirate of FIBA ambassadors.
There will also be three host countries in the World Cup – the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia.
If Bryant were alive today, Anthony was adamant that his old “Redeem Team” buddy would have watched the slate of games with him.
“I’m sure he would’ve definitely been here with me watching these games to come over and hanging in the Philippines and enjoy it himself,” said Anthony, one of the NBA’s 75 all-time best players.
“So for me, I could continue part of his legacy, but also establish what I have to establish enough for myself on a global scale.”
Having represented the United States in multiple Olympics and the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Anthony recalled his excitement of donning America’s tricolors.
“It’s the best [feeling]. I would say this is definitely the best. The experience with it was unmatched,” the 10-time NBA All-Star shared.
“For me to be here now and to see how the game has grown from a global standpoint, the development of kids and players in these different areas, and these different countries in a game that is just gonna continue to grow and grow and get bigger and bigger.” – Rappler.com