Carmelo Anthony Is Ready to Share the Story He 'Never Wanted' to Tell: 'Another Side of Me'

Carmelo Anthony, who joined the NBA in 2003 and is preparing for his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, is sharing his life story in the memoir, Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised

carmelo anthony
Photo: Doug Segars

When the time came for Carmelo Anthony to chose a name for his memoir, the NBA star says the title didn't come to him quickly.

But, his eventual choice — Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised — perfectly sets the tone for what's to come inside the book.

"When you see those words, you automatically feel it. The title is universal, it can go with anything and anybody," he tells PEOPLE of the memoir, which debuts on bookstands on Sept. 14 and is co-written by Salon editor at large, D. Watkins. "It could be anybody's story."

Basketball fans are likely familiar with the broad strokes of Anthony's life — he was raised in the Red Hook housing projects in Brooklyn, New York; moved to Baltimore when he was 8; then became a teenage hoops star at Towson Catholic High School in Maryland before transferring to Virginia's Oakhill Academy.

After spending a year at Syracuse University, Anthony entered the 2003 NBA Draft and began a career that has included 10 All-Star nods, three Olympic gold medals, and unforgettable tenures with ballclubs such as the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Portland Trailblazers.

Despite his success, there's much more behind the points scored and games won, Anthony says. Yet it's something he never imagined he'd share.

"I've never really wanted to tell this story," Anthony admits. "But I really thought that the time was now to really tell my part of the story,that most people don't know."

Carmelo Anthony
Simon & Schuster

In the memoir, Anthony recalls how his early environment helped shape who he's become.

Anthony introduces the world to 1980s Red Hook, a city he describes as a place "where danger was tangled up with beauty, and you couldn't untie one from the other," in the memoir's first chapters. The book then explores the history of the area, from its founding by Dutch in the 17th century, the building of the Red Hook Houses (where Anthony would one day live) in 1939, to how it became home to working-class Black and Puerto Rican families 20 years later.

The background adds context to Anthony's experiences, and those of his loved ones, such as racism from neighboring communities outside of Red Hook or the violence inside of it.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

"I had to be patient," Anthony says of the emotional energy it took to revisit the events of his past. "I had to open up to another side of me. I had to be vulnerable telling these stories."

"You got to be vulnerable because you're letting people into your world. If you're not honest and vulnerable and appreciative at the same time, there's no need to tell that story," he continues. "If you're going to sugarcoat a lot of things, there's no need to write a book or tell those stories. So I really had to humble myself and be like, 'Okay, listen I'm taking the gloves off basically. And I'm just letting you into my world and then into my childhood.' "

While Anthony's story is far from done — he signed with the Lakers this summer, joining his longtime friend, LeBron James, in Los Angeles — he knows the majority of his NBA career is now behind him. For that reason, he felt it was important to write a memoir sooner rather than later.

"I wanted it to still be relevant," Anthony says when asked why it was the right time for the book. "I feel like I'm still the connected tissue to a lot of this generation and to the generation before. So I really felt like this time, like I had to do it right now. For me to still be able to touch different generations and still be relatable to different generations, younger and older, the time was perfect for it."

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What was important to Anthony, he explains, was to write an account of his life that was unfiltered and truthful, as painful as some moments can be.

"I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm prepared. I want people to read it," he says. "Whether you like my story or not, it's my story. And there's nothing false in that."

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