PORTLAND, Ore. — Greg Anthony expected to cry tears of joy when he received word his son was induced to be born on May 20, 2000. Then a guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, he took a leave of absence during a playoff series against the Utah Jazz to witness his son’s arrival. But instead, Anthony had tears of concern as it was revealed the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.
Now nearly 19 years later, Anthony is a proud papa who gets sentimental watching his highly recruited son, Cole, lead the offense at a Team USA practice during the recent Hoop Summit in Portland.
“It was my first child, so it was emotional,” Greg Anthony told The Undefeated. “We played on a Friday night and I flew home Saturday so he could be born. It was just quite an experience. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, so every time they tried to get him out, his heart rate would drop. So for a while they thought we had to do a C-section.
“It was very scary, but eventually it was able to work out where he could come out naturally. It was an emotional experience. Knock on wood, it all worked out. And now, 18 years later, we are back here in Portland playing for Team USA, so it’s pretty cool.”
Anthony’s firstborn has grown into an athletic point guard who can drive, dish, shoot and dunk.
The New York City native is now the No. 2-ranked high school basketball player in the Class of 2019, according to the ESPN 100 list. Anthony averaged a triple-double of 17.8 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game as a senior for Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) this season. The 6-foot-3-inch, 185-pound guard led Team USA to a 93-87 victory over the World Team at the Hoop Summit with a team-high 25 points and eight rebounds on April 12. Anthony was also MVP of the McDonald’s All American Game.
While Greg Anthony was working as an NBA analyst for Turner Sports and living in the Miami area, he did his best to make time to see his son play this season.
“It’s a sacrifice, but it’s well worth the sacrifice to explore and experience the things that matter to your kids,” said Greg Anthony, who is married to his second wife, Chere, and has four kids. “It’s great, too, because basketball has been important to me.”
Said Cole Anthony: “No one wants to come to Oak Hill. I honestly told both my mom and my dad, ‘Y’all don’t even have to come to the home games. It’s not even worth it with the location [Mouth of Wilson, Virginia]’. But anytime we had an away game, he managed to get there.”
Being a son of an NBA player would seem to bring a lot of pressure. There have been many who have succeeded, such as two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry and former NBA star Kobe Bryant, as well as many others who have failed to live up to the pressure. Cole Anthony, however, believes he has earned his own reputation as Cole Anthony.
“I think I have become my own player at this point,” he said. “I hear more, ‘That is Cole Anthony’s dad,’ than, ‘That’s Greg Anthony’s son.’ I don’t feel the pressure that much.”
Cole recently said on social media that he plans to announce his college decision Monday. His final four choices are North Carolina, Oregon, Georgetown and Notre Dame. He said he has been “overwhelmed” by college recruitment, but his father has advised him not to “get caught up” in it.
— Cole Anthony (@The_ColeAnthony) April 1, 2019
“Cole plays beyond his years,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “He understands the nuances of the guard position and is equally adept at getting buckets or setting up his teammates. He should have an immediate impact wherever he chooses.”
The description of Cole Anthony’s game sounds very similar to his father’s.
Greg Anthony played at the University of Portland before transferring to Nevada-Las Vegas. It was there that he led the Runnin’ Rebels offense while playing under legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian and alongside future NBA players Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon. Anthony and the Runnin’ Rebels won a national championship in 1990, defeating Duke by 30 points in the championship game.