Carmelo Anthony has four seasons left on the five-year, $129 million extension he inked with the New York Knicks back in July 2014. But Melo clearly has one eye on life past basketball, too.
The Knicks' All-Star power forward announced that he has purchased a new soccer team, Puerto Rico FC, which will join the North American Soccer League and begin play in 2016.
"My passion for soccer has always been there," Anthony told ESPN FC. "I just always kept it to myself and among my circle. Going to games, sneaking into games and just watching and being around the sport over the years. The more time I started spending in Puerto Rico over the past six, seven years I realized that there was kind of a void down there on my island. The island didn't really have anything that they could kind of call their own, that they could represent not just on the island but from a global standpoint."
Earlier this month, the eight-time NBA All-Star even traveled to Cuba as a special guest of soccer icon Pele to witness the New York Cosmos' match against the Cuban National Team in Havana.
As passionate about soccer as Melo is, Knicks fans shouldn't worry about his ownership of Puerto Rico FC being a distraction to his basketball career. Anthony, 31, wants to assure Knicks fans that won't happen.
"Basketball is my No. 1 thing," he added. "I'm very hands-on, but it's more about taking the time now during the off-season. I spend a lot of time in Puerto Rico training. I'll do, like, a mini-training camp down there. Right now it's about putting the right people in place so that when I'm back to my regular job, basketball is my main focus. I'll have a solid group of people running [Puerto Rico FC] on a day-to-day basis."
Before Puerto Rico FC, the island had the Puerto Rico Islanders, who competed in the NASL from 2003 through 2012 before dismantling.
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