Every player enters the NBA Draft with expectations on their shoulders that are nearly impossible to meet. But some have added layers that make it more interesting. This is the case with Cole Anthony. The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, Cole might not be old enough to remember his father’s playing days, but he got a reminder of the shadow he was in every time they played together.
Cole Anthony follows in his father Greg Anthony’s footsteps
Greg Anthony came into the league in 1991 as the 12th overall pick by the New York Knicks. Coming out of a college career that took him to the University of Portland and UNLV, Greg had a lofty set of expectations heading into the NBA. He started his career as a bench player for the team that drafted him.
By some metrics, some could say that Greg never lived up to the hype that comes with being a lottery selection. After all, he only scored more than ten points per game once and only broke six assists per game twice. While many lottery picks go on to have long careers as full-time starters, Greg was a role player for much of his career.
One doesn’t last over a decade in the NBA without putting in the work, however. While he might not have reached the peak that some expected of him, he was a reliable presence off the bench for his entire 11-year career. It’s no coincidence that nearly every time a team cut ties with him, he was quickly moved to another team that desired his services. For his son, however, he wants an even better career.
Cole makes his own name
Cole might not be the son of a former superstar, but being the son of an NBA player means that people expect a little bit more than they do others. According to Cole, this meant that he had to make his legacy separate from his father’s. He spoke about this with The Undefeated as he headed off to UNC.
“I think I have become my own player at this point,” Cole told the website. “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 had to do what he could do to make himself viewed as a great basketball player. This meant working harder than everyone to be better than them. Eventually, when Cole was entering middle school, he got what he needed when he beat his father in a game of one-on-one. He spoke about when he knew that he was ready to make the leap to NBA prospect as a young teen.
“I was like 13 years old,” Cole told The Undefeated. “We were in our backyard in Florida at his house. We were playing and I beat him. And he got mad. We kept playing, he tweaked his hip and said, ‘We’re going to call it a tie for the second game.’ I’m sure he doesn’t remember. I remember, though.” Regardless of whose side you believe, Cole is now ready for the next level.
The next chapter for Cole Anthony
Cole can look to his dad for inspiration as he gets ready for the NBA. He fell to the Orlando Magic at No. 15 in the 2020 NBA draft, but many believe that he could show that he could have gone sooner. The Magic are trying to make another leap, and Anthony should get plenty of opportunities to make his father proud.
Regardless of where Cole goes from here, he’ll have a massive fan in his father., Every NBA player has a unique story, but those who grow up in an NBA household and continue that tradition with their talent have a remarkable story that few can relate to. For Cole, that story is just beginning.