There were several reasons behind Carmelo Anthony's decision to drop a few pounds this summer.
One of them? To make sure he’s healthy enough to play at a high level through the life of his new five-year Knicks deal.
“In anything, you get older, and getting leaner and lighter helps with the longevity of your career,” Anthony’s trainer, Idan Ravin, told ESPNNewYork.com in a phone conversation Thursday afternoon.
“He’s played a lot of years,” Ravin added. “He puts a lot of mileage on his legs, so the leaner and lighter you are, obviously the better.”
Ravin said that Anthony, 30, was not on an aggressive weight-loss plan this summer.
Anthony was listed at 235 pounds in official Knicks literature this past season. It is not clear how much weight he lost over the summer, but recent photos posted on Instagram show he has clearly dropped a few pounds.
Ravin also said that Anthony’s training wasn’t related to any plan to increase his minutes at small forward in the coming season or to adapt to the Knicks’ new triangle offense.
Rather, it was, in part, a conscious effort to ensure Anthony can continue to produce into his 30s.
“He’s just been very meticulous about his diet and his workout,” said Ravin, who has trained Carmelo since he entered the NBA in 2003. “We’ve been very consistent throughout the summer, and he’s been very focused. [There are] a bunch of new folks coming in [Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher] who are very bright and very accomplished, and I know he wants to have an amazing year. Every summer he’s committed, and we always try to tweak something and do something a little bit different. I can’t really go into what that is, but ... his weight loss and his fitness is a testament to his commitment.”
Ravin declined to divulge details of Anthony’s workout. But he said the seven-time All-Star has been diligent about his diet as he enters his 12th season.
“That’s one of the hardest things. To say yes and to say no [to certain foods],” Ravin said. “There’s more cardio, and then obviously there’s his discipline, requiring him to be more meticulous with his diet.
“When you’re driving a Lamborghini you’re going to put the most expensive gas in it,” he said. “It’s important. They’re not 18 years old anymore.”
BOOK IT: Ravin wrote a book called “The Hoops Whisperer” about his life and his experiences as a trainer for some of the top players in the NBA. He counts Anthony, Chris Paul and J.R. Smith among his full-time clients.
“I think people see me and they go, ‘Oh my God, you got lucky,’ or ‘How did this happen?’" said Ravin, who did not play NBA or college basketball. "They don’t realize that it was decades of devotion and faith that led to this point.”
“I don’t have the pedigree,” Ravin said. “My parents don’t know [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver. I don’t have any connections, but I built this with my own hands, on my own shoulders.”
Ravin said his book also breaks down some of the widely held misconceptions about the athletes with whom he works.
“It humanizes and demystifies many of these NBA superstars that I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years,” Ravin said. “I think there’s this idea that these guys live at the top of the hill on this golden palace sort of insulated from struggle and frustration and despair, but we all experience it.”
Ravin said he is proud of how readers have received the book so far.
“It’s resonated with so many different sorts of people,” said Ravin, who worked last season as an assistant coach with the Knicks but left midway through the campaign. “Obviously, it’s connected with a sports audience, but it’s also connected with women, with parents, with Wall Street folks, with churches and synagogues because the book on a macro level is about faith, intuition and courage and the importance of unconventional thinking. And on a micro level it’s a book about my unusual journey and how it’s intersected with the lives of some of greatest athletes of the world.”
Question: What do you make of Anthony’s weight loss? How do you think it will affect his game this coming season?
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.