Around seven years ago, Carmelo Anthony wanted to make a change. The basketball player was moving from Denver to New York, and he sought to revamp his image.
"It started with me wanting to do something different and take my career into my own hands," Anthony said. "[I wanted to] figure it out and not let somebody else figure it out for me. It took a while. Once I had the opportunity to come to New York it was kind of a clean slate for me."
Fast forward to today. The New York Knicks forward not only holds endorsements from the Jordan Brand, but he is also the owner of soccer club Puerto Rico FC. His philanthropic organization has built courts for kids and helped fund a practice facility at his alma matter, Syracuse University. He's the creative director of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" boys clothing line at Macy's. He's behind Melo7 Tech Partners, a tech firm established in 2013 that has backed companies including Lyft, DraftKings and SeatGeek.
Changing an image isn't an easy thing. To do so, Anthony and his team realized they would have to change how people perceived him.
"He prepared himself," said Robert "Bay" Frazier, Anthony's manager. "He tried to brand himself, tried to change the way he dressed. He cut his cornrows off. He wanted to go into the big city as a businessman. He wanted partnership/equity deals instead of sponsorship deals."
It was more than just appearances. In order to show the athlete's multifaceted interests outside of basketball, his management team and he decided to create the "This Is Melo" brand.
"Although he's an athlete, we really have to approach them like we would attack a corporate brand in creating a strategy," said Asani Swann, vice president of business development at Melo Enterprises. "We branded Melo as the authentic authority. Melo would only speak to things he was passionate about. He would only talk to things that he was authentic to. That was really the consistent messaging that we were going to continue throughout every aspect of his brand."