New York Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony, who re-signed with the team for in access of well over $100 million last summer, captivates as never before in an ESPN Magazine interview where he recalls once as a teen risking his life to keep the $20 he had during an at-gunpoint robbery attempt.

In the interview, the high-scoring Knicks forward professes to a lifelong love of money, thus rendering him willing to stare down the barrel of a would-be robber’s gun at 14-years-old to preserve what he had.

“Anthony had always been passionate about money — not just the cash itself but the luxuries it afforded him and the ways in which it signified success” ESPN reports. “He’d grown up with none of it, first in a housing project in Brooklyn and later in Baltimore, where his mother worked as a housekeeper and received food stamps. As a 14-year-old, he was held up at gunpoint for $20 and decided he would take his chances and run rather than hand over the cash.”

That somewhat explains how after being pursued by the championship-ready likes of the Bulls, Heat and Rockets in summer free-agency, Anthony elected to re-sign with Phil Jackson and the Knicks for the biggest contract he could garner from any of them.

But with the Knicks, his love of the almighty dollar has surely been tested, as the team has struggled to a 4-10 start. For sure, Anthony has been Anthony in Jackson’s triangle offense, averaging 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. But that’s pretty much where the Knicks’ good times have ended.

Fortunately for him, Anthony tells ESPN he envisions his legacy and everlasting identity being tied to more than just basketball and winning. “This isn’t just about basketball,” he Anthony. “I hate just being known that way. It’s got to be bigger than that. What I really want is a bulletproof legacy. How can I be known for being a visionary, for being truly great? People say I am all about more money, but it’s not like that. It’s about having the appearance of someone with success.”

The Knicks and Phil Jackson can only hope at some point that “success” comes to translate on the hardwood.

[Photo Credit: Matt Britto]