A lot of people told me "Don't do it. Don't do it. For what?" I actually enjoy it. I've been part of USA basketball since I was a junior or senior in high school. I actually enjoy it.

– Carmelo Anthony on his decision to play on the U.S. basketball team in the Rio Olympics

LeBron James isn’t here. Chris Paul isn’t here. Ditto for Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook, not to mention James Harden, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond and Steph Curry. Fact is, you could craft a gold medal-worthy roster out of the NBA stars who tapped out from participating with USA Basketball this summer for what, eventually, will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Carmelo Anthony is here, however. Same as always.

Couldn’t hold it without him, or so it seems. It’s as if the New York Knicks veteran scorer were one of those interlocking Olympic rings, the five of them falling apart if he didn’t show up every four years. If NBA players had walk-up songs like major league batters do, Anthony would be within his rights to use the famous Olympic fanfare (Leo Arnaud’s “The Bugler’s Dream,” to be precise).

Anthony, who practiced along with the other Team USA and USA Select members at UNLV facilities on the first day of this week’s training camp, is on the brink of officially becoming the first U.S. men’s basketball player to appear in four Olympics. And if Team USA is as successful as it hopes to be — and the oddsmakers expect it to be — he will take home his third gold medal next month in Brazil. He also was part of the squads that earned gold in 2012 (London) and 2008 (Beijing), as well as a bronze in 2004 (Athens). read more