Carmelo Anthony had Venus Williams on his “What’s In Your Glass” podcast to discuss today’s social climate, similarities in basketball and tennis, and much more.
In between the two of them, Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony and Venus Williams share seven different Olympic gold medals, as well as years upon years atop the food chain of their respective sports. On last night’s edition of What’s In Your Glass, the two icons discussed some of the similarities to their sport and America’s climate, among other topics.
The 45-minute discussion was a radiant one, but it addressed some of the more sensitive topics, such as the pressure on athletes — especially African-American athletes — to speak up on racism immediately, as opposed to mentally processing their thoughts and being less forthcoming right away.
Anthony’s philanthropy and advocacy for being more than an NBA player has been documented. But Williams on the show ratcheted the “bigger than sports” dynamic a pedestal higher. She talked a bit about her successful fight towards awarding men and women equal pay at Wimbledon, a struggle within most women’s sports at the time.
“We have to understand that also with racism, that it’s not just an issue of minority groups. And that was an amazing thing because I had just dreamed of going to play and win a Wimbledon. I didn’t realize when I got there that it wouldn’t be equal, and that they weren’t necessarily even about it, and that it had been that way since the (1960s).”
The two spoke in great detail about one of their goals beyond winning championships and accumulating individual success: the idea of creating a better athletic atmosphere for the generations to follow. Williams, in particular had a noteworthy take:
“I know that I love the youth. And I know that my platform is definitely with helping people at the grassroots level, especially helping young people with sports and education because of what it did for me, and what I see it do for young people all the time, and helping especially minorities to rise up. Everyone should have an opportunity, but especially minorities to rise up through sports and education.”
The talk wasn’t all politics and cures to social unrest, though. Despite being two of the most decorated athletes in their respective sports’ histories, picking out correlations between basketball and tennis doesn’t come easily.
Williams has found success in the form of 22 doubles victories with her sister Serena, as well as wins in mixed double matchups. But her calling card has been singles — she’s just one win shy of 50 Women’s Tennis Association titles. And Carmelo Anthony is known as one of the great isolation scorers in NBA history, despite being unfairly maligned for it, given the team nature in basketball.
It made for a fun back-and-forth, especially given that winning something other than gold in tennis is met with much more negativity than in basketball, as a 1-on-1 sport.
The rest of the podcast deserves a listen to, even if Olympics and global crises aren’t your cup of tea (or glass of wine, in this case).
The two stars hit on the mental psyche of being an athlete, on if they hear the crowd when playing, their mechanisms with dealing with the media after those Olympic failures, and much more.