Jay Pharoah, JR Smith, and (shockingly) Spike Lee were all in attendance as Carmelo Anthony received the 10th Annual Hennessy Privilege Award for his work with the Carmelo Anthony Foundation last night. The honor came with a giant inscribed bottle of the famous cognac, and all manners of cognac cocktails were served all night. If we knew awards came with so much booze, we would be trying harder to win them. We caught up with Anthony before he took the stage.
Tonight is about your work with the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, can you tell me a little about that?
We started this foundation maybe six or seven years ago. But for me, it was always more about getting into the nitty-gritty of things and giving back to the underprivileged neighborhoods, refurbishing neighborhoods and basketball courts, and just giving kids in the community that feeling once again. There’s no more community feeling out there, and for me it’s about trying to get that back.
Did growing up in an urban setting influence you to take your program into cities specifically?
Yeah, I knew what I had growing up and I knew what I didn’t have, and I knew what I wanted, so now I’m in a position where I can give. I always say that if I can make one kid smile, then I’ve changed a household, so that’s my thing.
Tonight’s event was originally going to be a roast, who would you most like to roast on the Knicks?
Haha! I have a lot of them. We do that anyway, in the locker room, we have a lot of fun with it. It’s everyone.
You called Bargnani a steal; what do you like about his game and what do you think it would bring to the Knicks?
I think for a seven-footer to be able to stretch the court like he does – you have to understand, he wasn’t the number one pick for no reason. Obviously, he’s got lots of upside and potential, so now it’s just a matter of getting it out of him and getting him into our squad.
Playing the Nets was intense before; is it on a whole new level now?
It adds that much more to it. We’re really excited about that, we’re excited about the challenge, we’re excited to get the season started – we’re ready. As far as what they have over there on paper, it’s something special, but we’re going to be ready.
Would you call this the best rivalry in the NBA now?
Yeah, I think this and Clippers/Lakers. It’s kind of similar to that one.
You came out of maybe the best draft class ever. How would you rate this year’s class?
This draft class, it wasn’t so special on paper, but I think that there’s some guys in there that you are going to see take off. Maybe in the next couple years, maybe this year. I think this is a very interesting draft class.
Anyone in particular you’re looking forward to seeing play?
I like Anthony Bennett a lot. I’m looking forward to playing with Tim Hardaway Jr., too.
Check out Maxim's 20 NFL Predictions For This Season and our interview with soccer player Lionel Messi.