Carmelo Anthony is preparing for a heavyweight fight.
Well, not necessarily.
The Knicks All-Star spent a bulk of his 10th NBA season at the power forward position, down in the post, which is the traditional spot for the giants of the sport. This of course was a different role for a player that made a living as an elite scorer from the small forward spot, near the perimeter.
Anthony made a significant sacrifice but the shift in location on the court greatly benefited his offensive game and allowed the Knicks to flourish en route to a 54-28 regular season record.
The former Syracuse standout has undergone a visible physical transformation since he led the Orange to a 2003 national title. By increasing his speed and strength over the years, Anthony was able to endure a season in which he battled some of the biggest and strongest players in the league on a nightly basis.
So, how exactly does Anthony prepare for what figures to be another grueling NBA season?
“Just try to do something different other than just working out on a basketball court and in the weight room, things like that. Trying to think outside the box and did a lot of boxing this offseason, especially when I got my clearance on my shoulder where I could be a little more active,” Anthony explained.
While the two sports are polar opposites, boxing can offer distinct advantages for basketball players looking to improve balance, mobility, agility, pivoting, and overall power. There’s also the cerebral part of boxing that challenges even world class athletes to build mental fortitude.
For Anthony, this specific training regimen is a part of his annual offseason program.
“I have been boxing for maybe six, seven years now. I started off with just the traditional training from the running miles, hitting the bag, hitting the speed bag, and then graduated to sparing some times,” Anthony described. “You know, going from one 3-minute round to maybe four, five, maybe six at times now.”
Endurance is certainly a key aspect for Anthony after he averaged the third-most minutes per game in his career. Additionally, he logged 40.1 minutes per outing in the postseason while battling Kevin Garnett and David West on the blocks. Anthony ranked No. 1 in the league in usage rate as well at 32.2, slightly ahead of Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant.
For the past couple of weeks, Anthony has poured out some sweat on the MSG Training Center floor. Metta World Peace joined his new teammate for several scrimmages and quickly noticed the Knicks 2012-13 leading scorer is primed for training camp.
“I see him out there, he’s doing great,” World Peace emphasized. “He looks a little trimmer also, which I’m really excited about. That shows dedication.”
The Eastern Conference is no picnic with the defending champs gearing up for a potential 3-peat, Chicago featuring a staunch defense, Indiana’s loaded frontcourt, and a beefed up Brooklyn squad.
Anthony is hoping another offseason of boxing as part of his training schedule will pay dividends heading into a title run for New York.
“Eventually, my goal is to get to 12 rounds,” Anthony smiled. “Championship rounds absolutely.”
Stay tuned to KnicksNow.com for comprehensive coverage of training camp starting on Monday with Knicks Media Day.