Basketball player Carmelo Anthony was born in Manhattan, but Puerto Rico’s “national” basketball team is trying to recruit him since he cut ties with the Houston Rockets.
Anthony is proud of his Puerto Rican heritage. He raised close to half a million dollars for disaster recovery in Puerto Rico through a Go Fund Me page. Anthony is a noted philanthropist and has provided support for children in Puerto Rico as well as in other locations over the years.
The Puerto Rico Basketball Federation’s J.J. Barea was quoted by ESPN as saying, “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it.” The Federation includes both men’s and women’s teams for basketball, a game which is becoming increasingly popular in Puerto Rico. The Federation is part of FIBA, the International Basketball Federation.
Carmelo Anthony is a three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner. He also won a Bronze Medal. He has had a long and highly successful NBA career. He would need to request a waiver from Team USA if he chose to play for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico’s team beat the US Olympic basketball team in 2004. That was the year Anthony received a Bronze.
As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is one of 10 territories allowed to participate in the Olympics. The U.S. Virgin Islands fields a team, as does the Netherland’s Aruba and the UK’s Bermuda and Cayman Islands. Guam and American Samoa participate in the Olympics, too, along with the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and Hong Kong. These 10 territories were grandfathered in after rules changes in 1995 made it impossible for territories to field teams in the Olympics.
Now all new participants in the Olympics must be “independent State[s] recognized by the international community.” Most are members of the United Nations.