• Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Ron Rivera
  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Alfonzo Gonzales
  • Jose Miguel Sokoloff
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Adriano Espaillat

By Victor A. Rodriguez

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, that “we must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to co-operate with that system, and hereby to become a participant in its evil.”

In 2016 Carmelo Anthony did not passively accept the system. The nine time NBA All-Star, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist has countless basketball achievements, yet in 2016 he really broke away from the pack and it wasn’t on the court. In an age when celebrities voice faux outrage or support via a tweet or snapchat, Carmelo Anthony did more, way more.

It perhaps, all started with the passing of Muhammad Ali. Anthony has always been quite vocal about the influence the icon has had on him. When Ali passed, Anthony took to Instagram posting a touching tribute and calling on all to continue Ali’s legacy of social activism. Anthony not only made a call to action, but answered the call himself.

To say that in the past year racial tension in the U.S. was tenuous would be putting it mildly. We witnessed violence between police and communities of color that has not been seen since the civil rights era. In light of the questionable killings of men of color by police, Anthony utilized his platform to call for protest, but also understanding between police and minority communities. He started at the ESPY Awards, broadcasting his message and recruiting his peers Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to assist. He then organized a police-neighborhood Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles to foster that very dialogue and understanding he was calling for. He essentially, did what many with the power of his celebrity do not, which is take definable action.

Yet, if you think Mr. Anthony is just addressing social issues, well you’d be wrong. In 2015 he acquired a pro-soccer franchise, but it wasn’t in New York, Los Angeles or some other fancy metropolis. No, he brought it home – to Puerto Rico, giving la isla del encanto its first taste of professional soccer in the form of Puerto Rico FC. For an island ailing economically the establishment of the franchise provides job creation, a much needed economic boost and a community focus.
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The team made its debut in the fall of 2016 and as part of their commitment to the community held clinics where over a 100 boys and girls were coached on soccer fundamentals by players and coaching staff alike.

For being his brother’s and community’s keeper, Carmelo Anthony is one of our Men of the Year for 2016.

Image Credits:
© National Basketball Association/Jennifer Pottheiser (Image of him my himself)
© Disney ABC Television Group/Image Group LA (Image of him on stage with other players)