Former NBA star Carmelo Anthony recently opened up about his experience with Team USA during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, recalling the painful defeat against Puerto Rico (73-92).

In a candid interview with Dwyane Wade on the iHeartPodcasts series The Why with Dwyane Wade, a co-production of iHeartPodcasts and Wade’s 59th & Prairie Entertainment, Anthony revealed the inner turmoil he faced after turning down the opportunity to play for Puerto Rico and then suffering a humiliating loss to them.

During the conversation, Anthony shared his internal struggle, revealing that he had considered playing for Puerto Rico before ultimately deciding to pursue his dream of representing the United States in basketball.

He recounted the pivotal moment when he realized that USA Basketball was the pinnacle of his aspirations, despite the allure of playing with Puerto Rico.

“Now you see, the stories that I’m telling you is adding up to the moment of ‘Don’t ask me, I didn’t play’ in ‘04 against Puerto Rico. But the stories leading up to that, nobody knows. It’s like I could’ve, should’ve played with them…,” Anthony explained during the interview.

“I left Puerto Rico, about to say yay [yes to playing for them] and then I realized that I plan on being in this league [the NBA] for a long time. USAB [USA Basketball] is the pinnacle. At the time, Puerto Rico had good players on the island but it was like I want USA Basketball.”

“It wasn’t where we put it out,” Anthony said. “I’m going to break it down to you from my perspective. ‘04 I was gonna play with Puerto Rico…right after that I get the call for ‘04 Olympics [for USA].”

Reflecting on the circumstances leading up to the 2004 Olympics, Anthony expressed his eagerness to seize the opportunity to play for Team USA after many top players had opted out.

“Everybody opted out so this is telling you where USAB was at that point in time. Everybody opted out. All the top dogs opted out. It was only a couple of people left,” Anthony recounted.

“They call us, [and I thought] hell yeah I’m playing. That mindset of I’m going to get to it…Man, I get to play USA Basketball in the Olympics after my first year in the NBA. I can establish myself. This is [the] dream team. And we go play that game in ‘04, get the sh*t beat out of us and the rest is history.”

However, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare as Team USA suffered a devastating defeat against Puerto Rico in the group stage of the tournament.

Anthony vividly recalled the disappointment and frustration of that moment, emphasizing the magnitude of the loss and its impact on him personally.

The defeat to Puerto Rico marked a low point for Team USA in the 2004 Olympics, where they ultimately settled for the bronze medal. For Anthony, it was a humbling experience that underscored the unpredictable nature of sports and the importance of seizing opportunities when they arise.