Weird, but true: Former Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest Olympic basketball players ever

Former Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony only needs 35 points to become the Olympic men’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer.

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Former Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony, now with the Knicks, is competing in his third Olympics with Team USA basketball. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Former Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony, now with the Knicks, is competing in his third Olympics with Team USA basketball. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Former Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony is many things.

One of the better scorers in NBA history Yep. A nine-time All-Star? Check. A member of six All-NBA teams in his 13-year career? Uh huh.

But did you ever consider Anthony one of the greatest Olympic basketball players ever? Because, as a great ESPN story from Nick Friedell pointed out Friday, Anthony objectively is.

This summer’s games, which start. Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will mark Anthony’s third trip to the Olympics with Team USA’s top basketball team. He was a young star on the rise on that disappointing 2004 group that won bronze in Athens, and also a part of those fantastic gold-medal squads in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.

Now the 32-year-old Anthony is an elder statesman on this year’s team, which includes Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving and Paul George. Anthony already ranks high on the list of several Team USA and Olympic basketball records, and he’ll only continue piling up numbers in Rio.

Consider:

  • He only needs 35 points to become the Olympic men’s basketball’s all-time leading scorer. LeBron James, who decided to sit out this year, ranks first on that list.
  • He needs to play in two games in Rio to hold the American record for most Olympic basketball games ever played. James and David Robinson are tied for first with 23.
  • He ranks fourth among Americans with 83 rebounds in the Olympics. Robinson is in first with 124.

So, yeah, it’s not crazy at all to say that the New York Knicks star is one of the greatest Olympic basketball players ever. He’s thrived when he’s gotten the opportunity to play alongside his most talented peers.

This might be Anthony’s last Olympic hurrah. Catch him while you can. Team USA opens group-stage play against China at 4 p.m. MT on Aug. 6. Here’s the full schedule.