NEW ORLEANS — She has been with him for the greater part of his 35 years, a sport to many of us, simply a ball to others, but to Carmelo Anthony, basketball has been so much more.

“The love of my life,” he said.

And right up until last week, Anthony was embroiled in the fight of his life, a tug of war with his mind, body and heart over whether he wanted to continue to love her, love her all the way back to the NBA.

“There was a time when I actually thought that I was about to let go,” Anthony said Tuesday.

His voice cracked, and he swallowed hard to push back that painful memory. There were times, he said, when his body didn’t feel like getting out of bed for morning workouts. There were times when his mind doubted whether all the work, all the discipline, was worth it. And he found his heart yearning more and more for his other love, his family — wife, La La, and 12-year-old son, Kiyan.

“I had to get…



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