There is one distinctive object that bonds three members of the Knicks over 64 years of basketball.
The gold medal.
In his first trip back to Madison Square Garden Training Center following the successful jaunt to London; Carmelo Anthony joined former Knicks’ Allan Houston and Ray Lumpp to celebrate the Garden of Dreams summer camp, Dream Week.
After a week filled with festivities that included a tour of the Training Center, meeting Steve Novak and Mike Woodson, and various outdoor activities, the children participating in Dream Week were rewarded with medals presented by four gold medalists. New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with his gold medal earned at the 2006 Olympics for Sweden joined Anthony, Houston, and Lumpp. Tyson Chandler was unable to attend the event due to his charitable work in Tanzania.
While Lumpp, Houston, and Anthony share the common achievement of capturing a gold medal, the three men experienced drastically different Olympic journeys. Ironically, Lumpp participated in the London Olympics in 1948 and he is now the oldest living U.S. Olympic basketball player. The former Knicks guard was forced to travel by boat in order to arrive at his destination for the Summer Games. Lumpp did not receive the same type of fanfare and admiration the Americans garner in this day and age, which was generated by the 1992 Dream Team.
“My gold medal? I put it in a drawer. See, there was no TV in those days and with television, the Olympics is the greatest,” Lumpp described.
Houston was a member of the 2000 gold medal squad that helped continue the dominance set by the crew in 92’. The Knicks assistant general manager truly enjoyed the once in a lifetime photo opportunity with the New York gold medalists and expressed his appreciation for Lumpp.
“To listen to the stories of Ray talk about how they had to dribble and practice on a boat on their way to London, they lost balls and had to bring their own food. Just to hear about the history, it really puts things in perspective of how blessed we are to have been a part of that,” Houston professed.
Obviously, the group of 10-12 year olds roared the loudest when Anthony entered the awards ceremony as he is the most relatable athlete to their age group. However, 88-year old Lumpp shared in the joy of Anthony’s recent gold medal accomplishment. And, of course, the 37-point offensive explosion in just 14 minutes for Anthony caught the eye of Lumpp.
“I cheered for him,” Lumpp smiled. “37 points and winning that gold medal, you have to be so proud and being a Knick, you have to be proud.”
Houston was quite pleased with Anthony’s incredible offensive output throughout the 2012 Olympics. As a member of the Knicks family and now a front office executive for the franchise, Houston understands the importance of succeeding in the epicenter of the sports world.
”Melo is a great representative for the Knicks and the city. You go all over the world and there is something about New York and being from New York and being a Knick. That is what he represents,” Houston stated.
Anthony was an offensive force for Team USA by averaging 16.3 points per game in just 17 minutes of action off the bench. The All-Star drilled 23-of-46 shots behind the arc and registered a blistering 53 percent from the floor. In his first appearance back at his second home during the NBA season, Anthony found pleasure in sharing his gold medals with the children and his fellow Knicks.
“To see Allan’s, to see Mr. Ray’s, to see Henrik’s, to see those gold medals, it puts a lot of things in perspective about how many gold medals are representing the Garden. To have us all here at one time is a great deal,” Anthony said.
From 1948 to 2012, from Lumpp to Anthony, from boat to flight, times have certainly changed over 64 years. One object maintains the bond between these three men (including Chandler) and the gold medals they captured overseas will place them in a special club, representing New York and the Orange and Blue.