The Denver Nugget All-Star pleads guilty to driving while ability-impaired

By Michael Y. Park
Updated June 24, 2008 02:20 PM
Vince Flores/Celebrity Photo

Carmelo Anthony, a forward for the Denver Nuggets, a two-time NBA All-Star and a member of the U.S. team for the upcoming Olympics in China, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of driving while ability-impaired.

Prosecutors dropped Anthony’s original sentence of driving while under the influence, and he was sentenced to a year of probation, 24 hours of community service and $1,000 in fines and court costs. He also pleaded guilty in the Denver court to failure to stay in a single lane.

“I’m happy that it’s over so I get a chance to take care of my business,” said Anthony, 24.

On April 14, after Denver police noticed Anthony on Interstate 25weaving and failing to dim his lights, he failed a series of sobriety tests.

At court, Anthony was accompanied by his fiancée, MTV veejay LaLa Vazquez, with whom he has a 1-year-old son.

The Nuggets have already suspended Anthony for two games because of his April 14 DUI arrest. Also on Tuesday, Denver police announced that he will take part in their “Alive at 25” program, aimed at encouraging good driving habits among young drivers.

Series of Scandals

It’s just the latest in a series of scandals for the New York-born basketball player.

In 2004, he was charged with marijuana possession after a search of his backpack at Denver International Airport. The charges were later dropped. That same year, he appeared in a controversial hip-hop video that discouraged people from talking to the police.

In 2006, he was suspended for 15 games after an on-court brawl between the Nuggets and the New York Knicks. Last month, Anthony was ticketed for driving 60 m.p.h. in a 45-m.p.h. zone, for which he paid a $130 fine.

Anthony had just been named to the Olympic team on Monday. He was also a member of the 2004 U.S. basketball team at the Athens Olympics, where he won a bronze medal.