Carmelo Anthony made history on Wednesday night as he became the United States’ leading scorer at the Olympics.
During Team USA’s clash with Australia, Anthony opened the game by scoring a three-pointer and then proceeded to break LeBron James’ record of 273 points with another long-distance shot with just over a minute left in the first quarter.
Anthony went on to play a pivotal role in the match as he scored 31 points, grabbed eight rebounds and recorded two steals as Team USA beat Australia 98-88.
The New York Knicks superstar admitted that knew about the record, but wasn’t thinking about it once out on court.
“Of course I was conscious of it,” Anthony told reporters. “My teammates was making sure I was aware of the situation, but tonight was one of those nights where I wanted to let the game come to me and take the shots that was given to me, take the open shots and kind of play basketball.
“And at the end of the day I was in my zone. I was playing basketball.”
Anthony finished the game with a total of nine three-pointers, which was just one shy of his own record of 10, and also dropped 14 points in the fourth quarter, which proved crucial as Australia refused to go down without a fight.
The 32-year-old is the first American player to feature in four Olympics and is now vying to become the first men’s basketball player to win three gold medals. Team USA won gold in 2008 and 2012, but had to settle for bronze back in 2004.
“His leadership has really blossomed big time,” USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said. “I would say if Carmelo played on any team long enough he would be the leading scorer. That’s the kind of scorer that he is.”
Anthony’s team-mate Paul George added: “He was wanting that moment. He was special tonight. We joke about it, this being his farewell tour.”