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2) When he appeared at Disney World after being named Finals MVP, he bused in hundreds of inner-city and underprivileged children to join the celebration.
3) He's a uniter, not a divider. "He was never an overly cocky kid," says his high school coach, Jack Fitzgerald. "He got all the acclaim, but the other guys on the team loved him, loved how he made them feel. There was no jealousy, and that's pretty amazing because this is high school."
4) He knows his history--of commercials, that is. "My favorite growing up was Larry and Michael playing H-O-R-S-E," Wade says of the 1993 McDonald's ad. "I just remember Bird saying, 'Off the middle of the court, off the Jumbotron, nothing but net.' That was just great. LeBron and I talk about that; it would be great to do something like that. It was good for the sport to see two icons, two guys who fought and went through battles, come together and be just people."
CARMELO: Now with 50% more maturity!
HERE'S A moment you probably missed. After Greece upsets the U.S., 101--95, in the world championship semifinals, the American players trudge toward the tunnel that leads to their locker room. Lagging behind is the 6'9" Anthony, head bowed. James sees this and waits, then offers his hand, like a father reaching back to a young child. He pats Anthony on the hip, then puts his arm around him. "When we lost that game, I felt like it was the end of the world," Anthony recalls. "I sat there and tried to breathe, and I felt like I couldn't. [ James] came over to me and said, 'We're going to be all right. We still got [the Olympics in] 2008.'"
Couldn't breathe? If this depth of feeling strikes you as un-Melo-like, then perhaps you are thinking of the old Anthony. The one who had dopey friends, run-ins with the law, battles with his coaches ( Larry Brown at the 2004 Olympics, George Karl in Denver) and little interest in defense. Meet Melo 2.0. Testimonials, please!
D'Antoni: "He was the best player [on the national team] the first couple of weeks for sure, if not at the end. He really attacked practices."
Brand: "I didn't know he worked that hard. He got up shot after shot. He was big for us."
Wade: "He was on a mission. Not to show anyone up, but to show that what happened [at the Athens Olympics] in 2004 was because he was young. He's showing the world, This is what I'm about now, and that's what I was about then."