Carmelo Anthony enjoyed another memorable trip to London as the New York Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons
Last Updated: 19/01/13 11:01am
Carmelo Anthony: Enjoyed his London return as the New York Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons on Thursday evening
Olympic 2012 gold medallist Carmelo Anthony enjoyed another memorable trip to London after his New York Knicks side beat the Detroit Pistons 102-87 at the O2 Arena.
Anthony was one of the leaders of the US team that claimed gold last summer, and he returned to North Greenwich on Thursday night to put in another great display, racking up 26 points in the Knicks' victory.
"It felt good out there," Anthony said.
"The crowd was fantastic. It's a sell-out crowd, there was great energy in the building and everybody has come out to support the New York Knicks, the NBA as a whole, the Detroit Pistons.
"I definitely had some flash backs running out on court."
Thursday night's game attracted a crowd of 18,689, and saw elite level basketball return to the capital for the first time since August's Olympic final.
It was hoped the London Games would incite Britain to embrace the world's second most popular team sport, but in December UK Sport announced it was cutting all funding from the national basketball teams ahead of the Rio Olympics.
NBA commissioner David Stern added his voice to the critics.
"Before the Olympics, basketball was being talked about as a sport being played in neighbourhoods in a country bemoaning the fact they had shut down so many playing fields," he said.
"The decision confounded me."
Stern was enthusiastic, however, about the reception the NBA has received in London, with last night being their 11th game here of any kind since 1993.
"The basketball fans are terrific," he said. "Whatever the government may be doing in terms of the development of the youth game or potentially the elite level, we're here, the Olympics were a great success, the Euroleague final four is coming and we couldn't be happier."