Carmelo Anthony can take your breath away. He can also make you furious. He can dust off one of the biggest smiles in sports, make you forget every foolish thing he has ever done, and then he can throw away all that goodwill with one immature decision.
He is, at the same time, fascinating and frustrating, the rare professional athlete whose public reputation is in constant flux.
The Denver Nuggets All-Star forward pleaded guilty yesterday to a reduced charge of driving while ability-impaired and failure to stay in a single lane and was sentenced to probation and community service for an incident on an Denver highway in April. Because of Anthony's plea, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of driving under the influence. He was ordered to serve one year of probation, perform 24 hours of community service and pay $1,000 in fees and court costs.
"I'm happy that it's over so I get a chance to take care of my business," Anthony said outside a Denver courthouse yesterday. The 24-year-old was dressed in a dark-gray pinstripe suit, with white shirt and silver-blue tie, and arrived with his fiancee, LaLa Vasquez, on his arm.
It has been a wild week for Anthony, who grew up in Baltimore and spent three years at Towson Catholic. Over the course of two days, he was chosen for the U.S. Olympic team, suspended by his team for two games because of the DUI arrest and sentenced on reduced charges. He will also be a part of a State Patrol driving-safety program.
In recent weeks, he has also been the subject of trade rumors, been ticketed for speeding and requested a meeting with the Nuggets' front office, hoping it would publicly guarantee that he would remain with the team.
Despite establishing himself as one of the NBA's most talented players during his five seasons in the league, Anthony has had a tumultuous professional career since he was drafted by the Nuggets third overall in 2003.
With the DUI charge resolved, Anthony hopes to concentrate on the Olympics. In 2004, he was on the Team USA roster that finished with the bronze medal.
"Hopefully, this is the last of the negative news," said his agent, Calvin Andrews. "Everything from here is positive on - with the Olympics and hopefully bringing home a gold."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.