Things have been pretty tough for Melo.
Depression. Inability to breathe. Anger. And that all came before anything that's happened to him in the past few months.
Yes, the Nuggets' barely twenty-year-old sophomore star has endured plenty of hardships, which he recounts with writer Greg Brown in Carmelo Anthony -- It's Just the Beginning. Brown, a former sportswriter, has produced 21 other titles featuring stars -- including John Elway -- under his Positively For Kids imprint. His goal is to encourage literacy in kids, particularly boys between the ages of nine and fourteen, by using a format that allows readers to imagine a one-on-one meeting with a celeb. Carmelo was a natural choice, since his inspiring story fits into the pattern of the series, but the 48-page hardcover book doesn't sugarcoat the athlete's struggles. "I lived in depressed places, and I've felt depression," Carmelo told Brown. "My biggest goal growing up was surviving."
Brown says he tried to "give a sense of what it would be like if Carmelo came to your house and talked not just about sports, but life."
After researching Anthony's life, Brown spent some time interviewing the star. "Everybody who makes it to the top -- in anything -- knows it's never easy," Brown says. "A lot of kids see someone like Carmelo and think that it's only talent that got him there. But there's a work ethic, which is one thing I try to weave in."
Although Brown knows it's risky to focus on someone whose career may suddenly take a dive, he likes to use athletes as subjects because "sports is a big hook." Players' stories, he adds, allow him to pass along a message to kids to "always have hope and never give up."
Brown and Anthony are scheduled to autograph the new book (and only the book -- no memorabilia, fans) today from 2 to 4 p.m. at the LoDo Tattered Cover, 1628 16th Street. For information, call 303-436-1070 or log on to www.tatteredcover.com. -- Ernie Tucker
Ice Is Nice
Slide into the holiday season at WinterSkate.
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Forget about the pro-hockey strike. The real action is on at WinterSkate, 824 Front Street in Louisville. Although games aren't played here, there's plenty of slick potential at this outdoor ice-skating rink, which opens for the season today.
"This is a great way for families to get outside without driving all the way to the resorts," says spokeswoman Meg Denbow. "It's great for parents who want to spend time with their kids and each other."
The 100-foot-by-55-foot facility, which used to be in Boulder, is now situated in the older part of downtown Louisville. Traditional holiday music and decorations festoon the site. "I think people are going to get that old-fashioned, small-town holiday feeling," says Denbow.
Admission prices are $4.50 for adults, $3.50 for kids ages four to twelve, and free for the wee ones; skate rentals are $2.50 per pair. For information, call the Skate Shed at 303-449-3137 or visit www.bouldercreekevents.com. -- Richard Kellerhals