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Chasing dreams is what keeps players going, even as their careers enter the twilight. Being able to change directions when those dreams take a turn is what makes for happy endings.
That’s why NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony and super trainer Chris Brickley have formed an athletic bond that’s guided Melo through the late stages of his career and helped keep the NBA vet in shape as he hopes to turn these past turmoil-filled seasons of his illustrious NBA career into a fantastic finish with the Portland Trailblazers.
Brickley had dreams of devastating the NBA with his flashy style, but instead, he followed his hoops calling to the top of the elite trainer’s call list.
He has an extensive client roster that includes Anthony, Brandon Jennings, Enes Kanter, Kevin Durant, C.J. McCollum, Tim Hardaway Jr., Joel Embiid, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and it is expanding every day.
All of these guys have been devastating rock controllers long before they met the 33-year-old, tatted-up Brickley, but his rigorous workouts seem to help these players reach next levels of execution and performance.
He’s totally dedicated.
“My whole life I dreamed of being where I‘m at,” Brickley said back in 2017 “At this point, I’ll do anything I can to help these guys help themselves.”
Hoodie Melo is 19th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 25,551 career points, but up until a week ago, he was a 35-year-old former great panhandling for an NBA job. It was sad and it angered NBA fans who would examine the current rosters of NBA teams and wonder why nobody wanted to give Melo a shot.
Part of the answer to that question is Anthony’s fault. His ego distorted his reality at a certain point in his career, but on the other hand, he’s never had a team good enough to contend for an NBA title and he’s never played with a Big Three like his boys LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and even CP3 have.
Melo’s glory has come from personal achievements, historic play in the Olympics as well as his association with the Banana Boat gang which has helped maintain his celebrity but also diminished his ringless legacy at the same time.
Cats like Wade and Bron are synonymous with championships. Melo was like the brother, who is always second fiddle in their presence.
Melo never wanted to go out like Allen Iverson. A.I, is an all-time great and legendary cultural figure who refused to accept his role as a diminishing superstar and was ushered out of the league without the pomp and circumstance of a champion. His legacy is a bit marred by how it ended.
Iverson wasn’t known for his work ethic either, which is something that Melo is legendary for.
He stays working and one of the key components of his comeback is his trainer Brickley. At this point in his life, Brickley is known for being the go-to trainer for elite hoopers and celebrities like Blake Griffin, James Harden, J. Cole and Travis Scott.
Melo has been training with Chris and playing with him for years and credits Chris with keeping him on point during this most recent layoff.
Brickley made connections in college basketball that led to a job with the Knicks.
According to businessinsider.com, “the seeds of his career were planted with a college transfer. Brickley, a New Hampshire native, became friends with Richard Pitino, son of NBA and college coach Rick Pitino, while on the Northeastern University basketball team. Richard was eventually hired by his father to coach at Louisville and convinced Brickley to transfer.”
Brickley eventually trained brothers Charles and JR Smith and that led to getting hired by a departing Phil Jackson in 2014. During his time with the Knicks, he befriended Carmelo Anthony and became his go-to trainer.
“I wasn’t sure how he’d handle it, but after the games I’d be like, ‘Dude you can play harder than that!'” Brickley told BI. “I gave him constructive criticism … He ended up respecting me because of that.”
Melo’s perceived lack of effort — especially on the defensive end — has been a source of media criticism for years and the 10-time NBA All-Star and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist is sensitive to those claims.
But Brickley didn’t make it to the top of his profession by stroking egos. And underneath the glitz and fame that he’s accrued, there is a remarkable body of work, filled with determination, family and love for the game…mixed in with memories of how NBA legend and cultural icon Jason “White Chocolate” Williams played a significant role in inspiring Brickley’s journey.
Check out the video as Brickley sits down for his new ink and shares how he honored his mom and dad with previous artwork.
The Catalyst For Melo’s Comeback
Despite some electric moments, Melo had a legacy-diminishing run in New York and a very public fallout with his wife La La an actress on the hit show Power.
With all of this going on he tried his best to accept secondary roles on the OKC Thunder for a season and then the Houston Rockets, for a couple of games before getting waived.
Throughout all of the chaos, the one consistent was Chris’s availability and commitment. Melo didn’t drop on the client list because he wasn’t in the league. In fact, the tandem stepped their game up.
Melo’s been trying to shake an unfair reputation for being a dinosaur, iso-addict caught between a changing NBA and a refusal to adjust his game.
Melo has a shot to redefine his legacy with the Trailblazers, a talented team that is struggling to survive in the Wild Wild Super Team-driven Western Conference. Outside of their All-Star backcourt of Dame D.O.L.L.A (29.8 ppg) and CJ McCollum (21 ppg) Portland lacks shooting and depth at stretch forward.
This is Melo’s chance to show that he can bring leadership and stability to a squad that can use a spark and a different voice in the locker room. His relationship with Brickley is an example of how badly Melo wants to end his career on a good note and keep his skills sharp.
Melo doesn’t want any free rides and Brickley doesn’t give them. Anthony just wants a chance to show the world what he can do, sort of like a hungry high schooler at an old school ABCD camp.
Brickley feels the same about his craft.