Community shines through at Carmelo Anthony’s book talk

Carmelo Anthony hosts virtual book talk

Syracuse student relates to the SU basketball legend during a virtual book talk event.
Published: September 11, 2021 | Updated: September 15th, 2021 at 1:22 am
Carmelo Anthony's book
Carmelo Anthony's book on Syracuse's campus.

For Syracuse sophomore Courtney Bennett, volunteering at this weekend’s Coming Back Together reunion gave her the chance to get involved, strengthen her ties to the orange community and connect with alumni.

But Bennett never expected to relate to Carmelo Anthony.

Carmelo Anthony, former SU basketball star, joined the campus virtually to speak about his new book, Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised. Hosted by Miko Horn, director of alumni events for the office of multicultural advancement, and Chris Velardi, director of digital engagement and communications, the virtual chat garnered about 50 alumni and current students in attendance.

Syracuse’s annual Coming Back Together weekend invites Black and Latino/a alumni back to the campus community. Featuring social events, lectures, workshops, and activities, alumni are not only celebrated for their successes but also are encouraged to connect with current students.

Bennett said she loved getting to speak with alumni and hear about their experiences. She said that she felt more connected to campus after hearing their stories and memories.

Anthony spoke to that special orange feeling.

“It’s an instant connection,” Anthony said as audience members laughed when Velardi pointed out Anthony’s orange bucket hat.

Anthony explained that his book is about much more than his basketball career. Instead, it talks about the difficulties he faced growing up and living in Baltimore and Brooklyn, and focuses on survival and hope.

Although he did not grow up here, Anthony credits Syracuse for helping him get to where he is today.

He said that growing up, his goals were simply to graduate high school and go to college. At Syracuse, he felt at home, appreciative of the chance to experience the highs and lows of college.

“I was comfortable being on that campus,” he said. “I’m indebted to Syracuse.”

Anthony said Head Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim had to tell him to leave and pursue his next venture, but he has been connected to Syracuse ever since.

However, a large theme in the book is the importance of community.

“We’ve lost the sense of what community really is,” said Anthony. “I really want to have those conversations with people and connect with them on another level.”

For students like Bennett, Anthony’s values reflect her own goals.

She decided to volunteer for the Coming Back Together event after a frustrating year due to COVID-19. She said being in person and getting involved has improved her connections to alumni and the school.

“It’s just a really nice feeling when you’re actually a part of something,” said Bennett. “Times change, and it makes me reflect on how I need to enjoy my time here at Syracuse.”

Carmelo Anthony and Courtney Bennett are not as different as they may seem. Their ties to the orange community ring true.

Anthony wants to share his story with his fans to show that there is more to him than just basketball.

“I just want you to understand who you are reacting to,” Anthony said. “Now you know from the beginning what it took for me.”

Bennett aspires to be like Anthony and the alumni she spoke to this weekend.

“I want to make the foundation for myself and for future generations,” she said. “It’s inspiring to see alumni pushing forward.”

“Cause that’s going to be me one day,” Bennett said.

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Hosts Miko Horn and Chris Velardi speaking with Carmelo Anthony at the virtual event.