The past year-and-a-half didn't flow as well as Carmelo Anthony would've hoped. He was traded to the Knicks halfway through the 2010-11 season and had to adjust on the fly, and then faced a shortened schedule in 2011-12, which featured ups and downs and a head coaching change.
That's why for Anthony and his teammates, the most popular word around town these days is "focused." The Knicks star discussed that when Spike Lee interviewed him on Monday night at the Air Jordan XX8 launch event in New York City.
"When I first got here, I came like towards the end of the season, in February," Melo said. "It was a whirlwind, it was 'Melodrama.' I really didn't get a chance to get my feet wet. I just jumped right into it. The excitement was there, the energy was there.
"Then coming off of that season last year with the lockout, not knowing when we were going to play, if at all we were going to play anything, and then to jump right back into the season, so that kind of took a lot out of myself, kind of took a lot out of our team as a whole. But now, this season for us to start off fresh, guys are healthy, guys are focused."
Anthony credited the Olympic experience for pushing him to prepare in the best way he possibly could for the following season.
"Every time I went to the Olympics and came back, I felt like I had some of my best years right after that," he said. "Being around guys that can push you every day in the summer. Around that time, I'd be working out anyway, so why not work out with the best players in the world?
"I really learned a lot -- how to trust my teammates, how to trust different things in life, how to react to different players, look at players and see what they do, what they don't do, the kind of rest that they get, what they eat, how they conduct themselves and what's their mindset and what's really their focus when they step out there on the basketball court. And, for me, for them to push me to that height, to that limit, I just carried that over to my whole team."
Regarding new training techniques, Anthony said he's even tried acupuncture, which helps relieve muscle pain.
"It hurt, but I'm cool with that," he said. "I take it on the side or something."
Anthony's interest in taking extra health-related steps was not something on his mind early in his career.
"It took me about five or six years to really get that and understand that," he said. "When I first came into the league, I used to hear guys talking about how they got their own chef, how they got their own masseuse, their own trainer traveling with them. I'm like, 'There's no way in hell I'm paying that much money for a trainer, for a masseuse, a chef and all that stuff.'
"But then as you get older, you start realizing how important the things that you take to your body, how much sleep you get, how much training you do, how much rest you get. You need a chef, you need that therapist with you, you need that trainer. At the end of the day when their career is over with, all of that will be worth it."
During the event, it was announced that Anthony and Lee, in conjunction with Jordan Brand and its other athletes, would make a "major donation" to the Red Hook Initiative to aid Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.